Who We Are

Rust Belt Harvest is a project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE) a non-profit public charity exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Mission - To celebrate the urban bounty, cultivate resilience and address food waste through creative, collaborative solutions.

Rust Belt Harvest is an organization that harvests and distributes surplus urban fruit and vegetables in Buffalo, NY. At Rust Belt Harvest we believe that resilience begins with community. That’s why we organize community harvests, where trees are harvested seasonally by volunteers. The fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste, are distributed to food banks, shelters and soup kitchens in Erie County. Even the non-edible grade fruit is donated.

Over 45% of people in Buffalo and Erie County live below the poverty line. According to the Foodbank of WNY, 1 in 8 people is at risk of hunger or food insecure and 1 in 5 children is food insecure. Rust Belt Harvest provides support to families and individuals, while contributing to Buffalo’s sustainability by helping to eliminate food waste and food insecurity. Rust Belt Harvest volunteers and growers have the opportunity to create a relationship based on reciprocity with the planet and with each other.

We invite our community to join us in our mission to celebrate the urban bounty, build an abundant, equitable community and address food waste in Buffalo, NY.

Vision - We envision a resilient community where everyone has access to healthy, local food, waste is minimized and we have abundant, bountiful relationships with each other and the Earth.



Theresa Church Founder and Director, Pronouns: she/her. Theresa grew up in Auburn, NY and relocated to Buffalo, NY after completing her Masters in Resilient Leadership at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. Her studies concentrated in climate, food and social justice and she founded Rust Belt Harvest after interning at Community Fruit Rescue. She is also a GE Trees Campaigner for Global Justice Ecology Project in Buffalo and is on the Campaign to Stop GE Trees Steering Committee. Theresa loves exploring Buffalo and hanging out with her fiancé and her dog Zoey.

Advisory Board: Coming soon