On Tuesday, June 12th Bob Dascanio, his wife Jo, their daughter Maria and Wayne McAuliffe our Volunteer Program Manager were guests of the Kraft Foundation at Gillette Stadium where Bob was awarded a 2018 Myra Kraft Community MVP Award. Bob was selected from a list of over 400 submissions as one of the 26 New Englanders recognized by the Kraft Foundation for exemplary service to their communities. A luncheon and awards ceremony was held to honor and pay tribute to each individual and their contributions to service. We are really proud of the fact that Bob was selected and that we are able to hold up one of our own as a shining example in our community.
If you don’t already know Bob he is our longest serving Team Leader and has volunteered countless hours over the years leading groups in the field. In addition, he has helped to recruit individuals and volunteer groups that continue to give back here at our farms. Like all of our Team Leaders he is always willing to talk about the work that we do and we appreciate having him as an advocate for our work. On top of all of this he has been instrumental in helping his church with a feeding program and regularly can be found volunteering at both the Treasure Valley Scout Reservation and the Ecotarium. How he has found time for all of this work is beyond us, but we are really lucky to have him on our team.
Please join us in congratulating Bob on this momentous award and for all that he has done to advance our mission over the years. Great work Bob!
The beginning of June is always an exciting time here at the farm as our newest crop of interns arrive for the summer. Some of these students may have ended classes one day and the very next day find themselves here at the farm. That’s the type of commitment and drive that these students apply to spending their time here learning while they help us drive our mission forward. Over the summer they will not only be able to dabble in their specific area of interest on our farms but they will also have the opportunity to learn from our staff, partner agencies and many of our regular volunteer visitors. Our hope is that they will leave us with a much more thorough understanding of our work and a vision of how they will apply that to their future.
This year’s group comes to us from as close as Clark University and the College of the Holy Cross right here in Worcester. Also represented this year are Middlebury College, University of Virginia, University of Vermont and Rhode Island School of Design. Ranging from rising sophomores to recent college graduates we are really proud that this group of students chose to spend their summer with us. After two weeks here on the farm this team has already seen quite a bit of action and met many of our diverse volunteer group. If you are on the farm please say hello to Haley, Amy, Sarah, Scott, Sara, Allyson and Steven and help us welcome them to the Community Harvest Project Team!
Support healthy eating and engaged minds by supporting our Intern Program!
Did you know that we grow more than fruits and vegetables on our farms? Through our leadership programs we’re also growing the next generation of healthy eaters and hunger relief advocates! Our farms are classrooms where lessons come to life. Students come to us as interns from local colleges where they learn many farm skills, but also they visit our hunger relief partners, take cooking classes, and learn the inner workings of a small nonprofit. They then take their newfound knowledge and skills out into the community to make a difference.
Their internships are shaping their careers and the future of our community.
Our recent interns have gone on to do incredible work. Joel, Claire and Matt are just three of many interns making a difference at local nonprofits today. Joel is now the Development Coordinator at Lovin’ Spoonfuls, an organization dedicated to facilitating the rescue and distribution of fresh food that would otherwise be discarded. Claire is now the Outreach Coordinator at Community Science Institute, helping to foster and support environmental monitoring to educate the public about natural resources. And Matt, is now the Marketing & PR Coordinator at Oldways, working to preserve and promote traditional foods.
As you read this letter our 2018 interns are arriving and beginning their summer of learning and discovery. Please donate today to support this and our other farm and nutrition programs.
Together we can create healthy and engaged communities through volunteer farming and nutrition education.
We hope to see you on the farm soon so we can introduce you to our new crop of interns. Thank you for your support!
DONATE ONLINE! bit.ly/SupportCHP2018
All donations are 100% tax deductible.
Join us for our first Sunflower Festival at the barn! This summer event will celebrate one of our favorite summer flowers with activities for all ages, including:
- A Sunflower Maze in the fields for families to find their way through.
- Pick your own sunflowers and zinnias to take home.
- Summer activities for the kids.
- Take photos with the sunflowers as a gorgeous backdrop.
- Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with fun lawn games, or grab a bite from on-site food trucks.
- And of course, ice cream!
Tickets are $10 per adult and include 5 sunflowers or zinnias (additional sunflowers are $1 each). Adult tickets do NOT include kids activities; a $5 Kids Pass will be available for purchase the day of the event.
BUY TICKETS ONLINE: http://bit.ly/CHPSunflowerFest
-Farm to Table Dinner-
Join us for a beautiful evening in the fields for our very first Farm to Table Dinner!
Attendees will be treated to a delicious dinner by Struck Catering using our local ingredients and drinks. Start the evening with a tour of the neighboring William’s Brigham Hill Gardens, and a chance to take a sunset stroll through our flower fields. Best of all your ticket purchase will give back to your community; each ticket includes a $40 donation to support our hunger relief efforts, all year long.
Groups of friends are encouraged, and we hope to see you there!
BUY TICKETS ONLINE: http://bit.ly/CHPFarmToTable
The theme for last month’s cooking class for 9-12 year olds was The Nutrient Games! We played a board game made by Leanne Matthews, who was an intern last fall. Leanne’s game focuses on different ailments you may encounter in life, like breaking a bone on the playground, having dry skin, or getting hungry halfway through the morning. A certain nutrient is suggested to help with the ailment, and you also collect different foods as you progress around the board. So to heal after a broken bone find foods with calcium, to help your dry skin you look for foods with beta carotene, and to stay full all morning you find foods with fiber. Pairing the ailments with the nutrients that helps cure them advances you around the board towards a healthy future!
For the cooking portion of the class we cooked with superfoods and made a chickpea salad, chia pudding, and fresh rolls. The chia pudding is always a favorite: all it takes to put together is stirring, and you get to watch the magic as the chia seeds absorb the liquid to make a pudding texture. Chia is chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium which make for a super-powered, plant-based pudding.
Overnight Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
- 1 ½ cups milk (almond, soy, or dairy milk)
- ⅓ cup (63 g) chia seeds
- ¼ cup (24 g) cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch sea salt
- optional: ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- optional: ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoons maple syrup
- Add all ingredients except maple syrup to a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. Add maple syrup and whisk again until combined.
- Let rest covered in the fridge overnight or at least 3-5 hours (or until it’s achieved a pudding-like consistency).
- Leftovers keep covered in the fridge for 2-3 days, though best when fresh.
We have a saying here at the farm that sums up all of the work that we do, “Plant a Seed.” Our hope is that by planting seeds we are helping our community with the critical issue of hunger and food access. Thousands of volunteers come out to do the work of the farm and in every instance we hope that they fully understand the power of the work that we do. Planting a seed starts in our greenhouses but with every volunteer visit, the thousands of seeds (and volunteers) grow into an amazingly bountiful crop that benefits our community.
This month we would like to feature the small but mighty group of volunteers that quite literally planted our seeds this spring. Without their dedication and attention to detail we would not have two greenhouses that are overflowing with bright green seedlings ready to go out into the fields and produce. Our greenhouse volunteers start their work while we are still at the very end of winter and continue right until the end of this month. They help to plant our seeds and to transplant small seedlings into larger trays to give them more root space and thrive before planting.
We would like to thank the teams from the Massachusetts Master Gardeners, RSVP Worcester Volunteers, Grafton Medical Reserve Corps, Bank of America, Wegmans and Gap for helping to get the job done. Without them and a great group of Team Leaders and Greenhouse Crew regulars we would not be ready for our planting season. So, on behalf of the entire team here at CHP… Thank you all for Planting a Seed and getting our year started Through your hands there will be bountiful produce donated throughout our community and it all starts with just one seed.
Read more from The Sprout!
Spring is here and that means it’s time for Community Harvest Project’s annual plant sale fundraiser, Plantapalooza, to be held Saturday, May 19th from 7:30am – 1:00pm at 37 Wheeler Road in North Grafton, MA (rain or shine).
Come visit our farm to buy all of the annuals, perennials, fruits, and vegetables you need to build a beautiful garden this season – edible or not! We will have a plentiful variety of heirloom tomatoes, native species, and herbs to spice up your garden. Our volunteer plant experts will assist you with your questions and help you find the perfect selection of plants to thrive in your yard. Also, stop by the Master Gardeners tables for tips and tricks for your garden this year!
The first 1,000 attendees receive a free 4-pack of tomato plants!
While at Plantapalooza, make sure to check out the craft vendors, raffle, and stop by the CHP tent to learn more about out the work we do in the community. Community Harvest Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all proceeds support our mission of creating a healthy and engaged community through volunteer farming and nutrition education.
Thank you for your support! See you Saturday!
Read more from The Sprout!
This month we’re thrilled to introduce you to a few new members of the Community Harvest Project family:
Stephanie Collins, Development Coordinator
It is exciting to know that my role can directly make a difference for the community. My passion for the CHP mission grows every day I arrive at the farm. The ability to be able to watch the seedlings grow into fresh produce/fruit that will support the families in this area makes it all worthwhile.
Dave Johnson, Farm Co-Manager
The Farm draws us into the natural cycle of things. It is a place of growth and consistent change as seeds sprout and seasons shift. These transformations are an every day part of our work and are reflected internally. I am incredibly grateful to work and grow alongside such a dedicated community of volunteers to alleviate hunger through agriculture.
Alexis Marsh, Farm Assistant
Alexis is a recent graduate of Keene State with a background in nutrition. She fell in love with farming during a gleaning internship, and we’re excited to have her join the team!
We would also like to give a big thank you to our departing team members. Austin Moline, our 2017 Orchard Assistant, and Maryann Wood, who joined us through the year-long program Ignatian Volunteer Corp. Thank you both for all of your hard work!
Read more from The Sprout!
Both of our April cooking classes focused on whole grains! Whole grains are grains that are processed with all three parts of the seed included: the bran, endosperm, and germ. The bran is the seed coat and contains antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber. The endosperm is what would feed the growing plant until it can produce its own food, and contains carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of vitamins and minerals. The germ is the embryo that would grow into a new plant and contains B vitamins, protein, minerals, and healthy fats. When a grain is refined, the bran and germ are removed and with them the majority of the fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Refined grains are less healthy, and don’t keep you feeling full for as long.
The USDA and Harvard Medical School recommend at least 50% of your grain intake be from whole grains, like breads, pasta, and pizza made with whole wheat flour, brown rice, barley, farro, quinoa, and steel cut or rolled oats (not instant). This can be an easy switch by choosing corn or whole wheat tortillas instead of flour, white rice instead of brown, and rolled oats instead of instant.
The Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds) made vegan Sweet Potato Quesadillas and the black bean quesadillas below. Both were huge hits, and easily adapted to the ingredients you have on hand like other kinds of beans, cooked vegetables, and various kinds of cheese (or no cheese!).
Black Bean Quesadillas
- 1 can of black beans, rinsed
- 1 clove of garlic
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups of shredded cheese, such as mozzarella, cheddar, or a blend
- 5 6-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
- Start the food processor and drop the garlic clove in the top. Process until you can’t hear it bouncing around anymore.
- Scrape down the sides of the food processor and add in the black beans, lime juice, cumin, paprika, and salt. Process until a thick paste forms. Add a tablespoon of water if it is not blending. You may have to scrape down the sides a few times to get everything mixed in. (if you don’t have a food processor, minced the garlic, and then combine the rest of the filling ingredients and mash into a paste with a potato masher or fork.)
- Make your quesadillas by spreading the bean spread on half of the quesadilla, topping the spread with cheese, and folding it over to form a half moon.
- Heat 2 tablespoons (30ml) oil in a large skillet or on a griddle over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully add 2 folded tortillas and cook, swirling and moving tortillas around, until golden brown and puffy on first side, about 2 minutes. Using a flexible metal spatula, flip quesadillas, season with salt, and continue cooking until golden brown and puffy on second side, about 2 minutes longer.
- Transfer quesadillas to a paper towel to drain and repeat step 3 to cook remaining quesadillas. Serve immediately.
- Quesadillas can also be cooked in the oven by placing them on a baking sheet and putting them in a 400F oven for 10 minutes and flipping them halfway through.
Read more from The Sprout!
If you have not already noticed Community Harvest Project is in the midst of refreshing all of our marketing materials. Check out the great new logo and you will see just the beginning of our efforts to streamline and bring every marketing piece up to date. This would not have been a possibility without the help and amazing support of AccessTCA of Whitinsville. When this group began volunteering with us three years ago they made a commitment to help in other ways. If you have visited the farm you will notice some great graphics in the great room and some educational signs throughout the property. These are all examples of their work and how they uniquely support CHP with their expertise in marketing and displays.
This year we asked them to help us with our rebranding and as you can see they jumped right in. With an ear to the past and a nod to the future they updated our logo and color scheme with the thought of making it clearer to understand and easier to read. We have already received a number of compliments on the update and appreciate that our supporters are noticing. Thanks to the talent of designer Eric Anderson on the AccessTCA Team you will see this new touch beginning to show in not only our logo but in mail pieces and our upcoming Annual Report.
We would like to thank the entire team at AccessTCA for their continuing support and creativity in giving back to our community. When they put themselves behind a project you can count on them to deliver, they have done that tenfold with their support of CHP over the years. So, we would like to offer a hearty thank you to Eric, Dean and Tom for meeting with us and undertaking this challenge and to the entire AccessTCA team for making this possible. We are thankful for your support and appreciate the entire organization’s role in helping to move CHP forward.
Read more from the April Sprout!