Volunteer of the Month: Access TCA

Community_Harvest_Logo_2018_WEB_600px_TransparentIf 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.

AccessTCA2017

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!

 

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Adopt-a-Row or Adopt-a-Tree This Season

AARYour seedlings and trees are waiting for adoption!

Your seedlings are ready to be transplanted into their new homes.  Adopt today to support their care for the 2018 growing season. Chose from Broccoli, Cabbage, Collard greens, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Okra, Peppers, Summer Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Winter Squash, or Zucchini.  Or adopt one of these trees: Braeburn, Cortland, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, McIntosh, Macoun, Mutsu and Red Delicious.

Support our 266 rows of crops and care for 3,660 apple trees by Adopting-a-Row or a Tree this spring!  When you adopt you allow us to care for your plant from fertilizing, watering and harvesting on your behalf!  We are beyond thrilled to do it too!

Donations of $250 or more will receive recognition at the farms for the duration of the growing season. Your support will go so much further than our fields. The average row yields over 2,900 servings of produce for donation each year and a single apple tree can over produce 700 apples – all for hunger relief.

By adopting, you make a difference in the lives of your neighbors. Your donation helps to put these fresh fruits and vegetables into the hands and homes of individuals and families who need it most.  Together we are making a significant impact on hunger relief in our communities.

DONATE TODAY! Thank you for your support!

Read more from the April Sprout!

 

Save the Date for Plantapalooza 2018

PP II.jpgSpring is finally here and that means it is 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). The first 1,000 attendees receive a free 4-pack of tomato plants!

Come visit our farm to buy all of the annuals, perennials, herbs, fruits and vegetables you need to build a beautiful garden this season! We will have a large 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.

While at Plantapalooza, make sure to check out the vendors, cookie walk, and 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 nonprofit organization and all of the proceeds support our mission of creating a healthy and engaged community through volunteer farming and nutrition education.

Interested in being a vendor at Plantapalooza, contact Stephanie@community-harvest.org or volunteering, contact wayne@community-harvest.org.

Thank you for your support!  See you at Plantapalooza!

Read more from the April Sprout!

 

Update from the Orchard

20180116_114012Despite the lingering cold of winter, the orchard is beginning to awaken with the longer days of sunshine.  The past three months have been spent pruning our over 3,600 fruit trees and we are now ready to move to our springtime tasks and a much anticipated new growing season.

In less than a month we could be harvesting our first asparagus spears and watching the first apple blossoms bloom, a welcome sight after a long winter.  This year we will harvest the first apples from the high-density apple orchard that was planted two years ago.  We will also be working on some new projects, including growing hops as a fundraising crop.

20180303_130012As we wrap up one season and look forward to the next, I can’t help but be thankful for the wonderful and dedicated volunteers I have had helping me with various projects around the farm.  The orchard “Tuesday volunteer crew” was instrumental in completing the apple tree pruning as we tacked over 1/3 more trees than last year.  And I must say, the trees look great.  Dana Noble and Will Thompson, two local high schoolers from Bromfield High School, recently completed forty hours of community service at Prospect Hill Orchard and helped with tasks ranging from installing mouse guards on young trees to pruning and thinning apple trees.  And a special thanks to the Harvard Girl Scout Troop 30892 for completing yet another project for CHP.  This winter the girls built much needed storage shelving units in our barn and painted a beautiful sign to welcome future volunteers.  It has been wonderful to have the support from the community and has gotten our 2018 season off to a great start!

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Secret Ingredient Desserts

What's cookingOur March cooking classes had an air of mystery about them – we made secret ingredient desserts! We started off by comparing the sugar content of different foods. The kids made pairs of desserts and drinks with fruits that had the same sugar content. Here are a few examples:

56 grams of sugar: 32 ounces of Gatorade or 4 bananas

12 grams of sugar: 1 packet of Gushers or 1 cup of cherries

43 grams of sugar: 1 pack of Skittles or 4 ½ oranges

21 grams of sugar: 1 chocolate chip Clif bar or 3 ½ kiwis

What fills you up faster? 32 ounces of Gatorade or 4 bananas? Definitely the bananas! In all these cases you would be much fuller after eating the fruit, plus you would stay fuller for longer because of the fiber, and you would also benefit from the vitamins and minerals they contain. The drinks and desserts will give you quick energy, but that’s about it.

So have you guessed the secret ingredient in our desserts? They all included fruits and vegetables! Though just because the desserts had fruits and vegetables in them doesn’t mean they are “healthy,” because there was still sugar in them. But having some of the sugar content come from fruits and vegetables means that they are healthier than versions without fruit and vegetables. We made black bean brownies, chocolate beet cupcakes and banana ice cream.

This ice cream recipe has no added sugar in it, and is a wonderful, creamy texture which comes just from frozen bananas. It would be easy to customize by adding cocoa powder or nut butter.

Unbelievable Banana Ice Cream

Adapted from Baking with Less Sugar by Joanne Chang

6 ripe bananas, peeled, chopped, and frozen

120 g/ ½ cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ tsp kosher salt

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Place bananas in the blender or food processor. Pour in the cream and vanilla and blend on high speed until smooth. Add the salt and cinnamon and blend again. Enjoy ice cream immediately or store in the freezer to enjoy later. If stored in the freezer, let thaw for 10 minutes before eating.

 

Part-Time Volunteer Assistant

We are currently seeking a Seasonal Part Time Volunteer Assistant to work under the direction of our Volunteer Program Manager at our North Grafton location.     The ideal candidate will have basic computer skills, possess strong interpersonal skills, and have the ability to illustrate strong organizational/follow up skills.  See below for more information.

Interested applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and 2-3 references by April 11 to Cordelia Lyon, Executive Director at cordelia@community-harvest.org

Schedule

This is a part time, seasonal position from May 7 through August 31

10 hours per week Monday through Friday with either morning or afternoon availability

Job Description

The Volunteer Assistant is responsible for key communications between Community Harvest Project and our outside volunteer groups.  This role assists with ensuring an accurate forecast of future volunteers and helps to prepare volunteers for their visit to our farms.  In this role there will be significant email and phone contact with outside volunteer groups and their coordinators.

Duties and responsibilities

Assist Volunteer Program Manager with Volunteer Operations

Weekly scheduling

Follow up via phone and email

Compensation: $11.00 per hour

Qualifications

Google and Windows Suite

Cloud based platform experience, preferably Salesforce

Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Positive, self-starting attitude

Community Harvest Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit farm with locations in North Grafton and Harvard, Mass. Our mission is to build healthy communities through volunteer farming and nutrition education. Each year our sites host over 8,000 volunteers who work together to grow and donate an average of 270,000 pounds of produce each year to local hunger relief agencies such as the Worcester County Food Bank, Community Servings, and more.

Volunteer Open House – March 24

Karen Keehn KristinaHave you always wanted to get involved at Community Harvest Project and just aren’t sure what you could do to help?  Do you want to volunteer and help your community while meeting a diverse group of volunteers? Do you have an interest in helping community members who are food insecure?  Do you want to spend time in the great outdoors and learn more about locally grown produce? Those are just some of the questions that you can get answered this coming Saturday, March 24th from 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM at the Community Harvest Project Open House, 37 Wheeler Road, North Grafton, MA.  

We always welcome members of our community to come out and help us grow fresh local produce that is donated to hunger relief partners in Central and Eastern Massachusetts.  Believe it or not spring is right around the corner and we are gearing up for our first volunteers that will arrive on April 30th. Come learn from our expert Volunteer Team Leaders about how fulfilling volunteer time spent with Community Harvest Project can be.  We have opportunities galore and would love to meet you and speak with you about joining the team. Come learn more about our dynamic non-profit and how you can give back to our community.

Volunteer of the Month: Eastern Michigan University

EMU.Group.02.21.18We really enjoy sharing the resources of our organization for others to learn about the many facets of non-profit work and collaboration.  For the third consecutive year we were visited by a group of Eastern Michigan University Students during their Alternative Spring Break. This hearty group traveled from Ypsilanti, Michigan to spend an immersive week learning about the hunger relief network in the Worcester Area.  During their time here they spent time preparing our greenhouse for spring planting as well as preparing materials for our new process of row covers. They visited our orchard and learned a bit about fruit trees and the benefits of apples as part of our offering. They also visited our partners at the Worcester County Food Bank, Community Servings, Loaves and Fishes and the Worcester Department of Public Health.  They learned what it takes to feed those seeking aid in the hunger relief network and some of the health and wellness challenges that may impact a community. This team spent long hours asking questions and discovering some of the root issues that cause hunger in any community. In addition, they learned how Community Harvest Project and our partners work together to make a difference.

We can’t thank them enough for spending time with us and helping our community while learning and so we send a hearty thanks out to Rupa Kottoor, Ewere Bernard, Olivia Wash, Balaal Hollings, Gracie Kierczynski and James Williams.  Thanks for reminding us that we can all learn more when we really dig in. Here are some thoughts in their own words;

Service is the rent you pay for livon on this earth and I really feel that.  To think we only did this for one week and there are people who do this every day, wow!  This has really opened my eyes and now I see how big this issue is and how deeply people care about it.  This week alone has inspired me to make sure others in my area have the support and knowledge that I gained here to aid them in the fight against food injustice.”

“Overall, the experience was eye-opening and taught us a lot.  We learned about and assisted with many different aspects of food insecurity.  We all want to take what we learned during the trip and apply it when we go back to Michigan.”   

Shop with AmazonSmile and Support CHP!

Chances are, you use Amazon just as much as our staff – which means you use it a lot! But did you know you can support Community Harvest Project with every Amazon purchase you make?

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers.

To get started, visit our AmazonSmile website here (smile.amazon.com/ch/04-3424018). Once you select us as your benefiting organization, you’re all set! Just place your orders as you normally would, and Amazon takes care of the rest. Just be sure to bookmark our link so when you shop, you benefit CHP every time.

We are excited to tell you about a new AmazonSmile promotion that launches this month! Amazon is tripling the donation amount to 1.5% when customers make their first eligible smile.amazon.com/ch/04-3424018 purchase from March 12 – 31. This is a great opportunity to increase Community Harvest Project, Inc.’s AmazonSmile donations!

Thank you for your support!
Amazon

Dumplings, Dumplings, Dumplings

whats cooking 1.PNGFor our February cooking classes we got in the spirit of the Olympics and made mandu! Mandu are Korean dumplings that can be made with a variety of fillings. We made a vegetarian filling that had egg, onion, cabbage, bean sprouts, and vermicelli noodles.

We went over some basic shapes to fold the dumplings into, but the most important concept to grasp is that the dumplings need to be completely sealed so that the filling does not escape. From there creative fingers made dumplings into all sorts of shapes, like envelopes, half-moons, hugs, and creatures.

whats cooking 4This is the recipe we used in the classes, and if you need help with your dumpling forming there are tons of videos on Youtube to guide you (like this one). Dumpling wrappers can often be found in the refrigerated section next to the produce in the grocery store (where you can also find tofu). If you can only find square ones, those will work instead of round!

Yachae Mandu

(Korean Vegetable Dumplings)

Adapted from:

https://www.thespruce.com/korean-vegetable-dumplings-recipe-2118971
2 eggs, beaten
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup parboiled, squeezed dry, and finely chopped Napa cabbage (about 1/2 of a small cabbage head)

1 cup chopped firm tofu

¼ cup blanched and chopped bean sprouts,
4 oz mung bean or sweet potato noodles (aka Chinese vermicelli), soaked and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tsp salt
2 packages circular mandu wrappers (or Japanese gyoza or Chinese wonton wrappers) – about 50 total (a 16 oz package usually has about 25 wrappers in it)

In a large mixing bowl, gently combine egg, onion, cabbage, bean sprouts, tofu, and noodles.
In a separate bowl, combine garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper.
Pour seasoning mixture over tofu and vegetables and use your hands to mix the ingredients together.
Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the dumpling wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and wet the outside edge of the top half of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper up to close it and then crimp the edges. Repeat until the filling is gone. Then steam, boil, pan fry, or sauté the dumplings as you wish.

Read more from the March Sprout!