Team Leader Open House March 23

Team Leader (7)Looking for an opportunity to feed your soul while helping others in your community? Have questions about how we operate our farms and how you can get involved? Have a few hours a week that you would like to volunteer?  Recently retired and looking for a new way to engage with your community? Enjoy being in the great outdoors with other like minded community members?  Enjoy meeting new people and helping others? Have time over the summer months to get behind a great cause? Need to fulfill service hours for college applications?  Want to help lead the large groups of diverse volunteers visiting our farms in North Grafton and our orchard in Harvard? Have a unique skill that you think can help advance our mission?   

We are always looking for new volunteers to join the team and offer lots of ways to help the cause.  Come out to our Annual Open House on Saturday, March 23 to learn more. We will offer tours every half hour from 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM and have some of our most experienced Volunteer Team Leaders here to answer your questions.  

Bring a friend and come find out about more about how you can help!

Read the rest of the March Sprout!

Winter at the Orchard

This winter, we have been busy, as always, at the Prospect Hill Community Orchard!  During these frigid winter months, we have bundled up in our balaclavas, buckled our snow boots, and devoted ourselves to pruning over 3,000 apple trees and 150 peach trees. We are making our way through the orchard, with just a few more chilly weeks ahead of us before we can retire our saws and loppers.  We couldn’t do it without the help of our dedicated volunteers and friends, the much esteemed ‘Tuesday Crew.” While everyone has enjoyed the snow, we can safely say that we’re looking forward to the promise of spring.

44601952_10156741402960917_164580423773454336_o-1.jpgThis season we welcome Savannah Eades as the Orchard Assistant. You may have already seen her around the orchard last fall helping with the apple harvest or this winter pruning the fruit trees.  Savannah was a 2017 intern at CHP where her friendly disposition and positive attitude made her a joy to work with. We are so grateful to now have her as a permanent part of the team! She received her BA in Environmental Studies from Clark University in 2018 and is now excited to be pursuing her interests in agriculture.

Support CHP with Amazon Smile

amazon-smile

Amazon makes so much of our lives easier, including giving to a non-profit that matters to you. And it isn’t a separate process – it all happens as part of the shopping you are already doing!

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy their same member benefits and 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.

Thank you for your support!

Volunteer of the Month: Harvard Tuesday Crew

harvardtuesdaycrew.03.12.2019.jpg

As we head into spring it is a key time for work out at our Prospect Hill Community Orchard in Harvard. Susan, Savannah and our Tuesday Crew have been busy since right after the first of the year pruning the thousands of apple trees there so that they will produce a bountiful crop.  Pruning is one of the keys of success and can only be completed when the trees are dormant prior to the trees becoming active with spring growth. During this process any diseased or damaged wood is pruned out of the trees, the pruners also look to improve sunlight penetration and air flow to stimulate a healthier crop.  Lastly and one of the most important pieces of this process is to prune the tree so that it is able to support the weight of its crop. It is an art and something that this team has mastered with many years experience amongst them.

The crew visits weekly and works in all types of weather as with an orchard this big it will take a significant amount of time to get through all of the trees. Once this work is completed the crew will assist throughout the year on other important orchard tasks such as pest management, mowing, trellising and fence repairs.  We could not operate this orchard without the power of volunteers and this hearty crew is the piece that sets everything in motion to have volunteers out in the fall to harvest our apple crop.  We would like to thank the Tuesday Crew for all of their hard work so far this season and cheer them on as they continue their pruning work for the rest of March. Please join us in thanking Don, Marc, Russ, Brian, George, Scott and Peter for their continuing support, dedication and drive in helping us advance our mission. We appreciate all of their effort on our behalf and can not wait to see the “fruits” of their labor this fall.

Read the rest of the March Sprout!

What’s Cooking: Chocolate Beet Muffins

whats cookingDid you know there are 56 grams of sugar in a 20 ounce Gatorade? You would have to eat 4 bananas to get that same amount of sugar from fruit (if that’s even possible!). And when you eat those bananas instead, you are actually full from all the fiber, you get a host of additional vitamins and minerals, and time for your body to absorb them as you digest.

For our February cooking classes we talked about sugar and how easy it so over-consume when you are having processed sweets and drinks. The recommended daily maximum for men is 38 grams (9 teaspoons) and for women is 25 grams (6 teaspoons). Both are less than that single Gatorade. Using fruits and vegetables to satisfy our sweet tooth can be just as delicious (or even more so) than desserts using processed sugar.

These chocolate beet muffins were very popular in our February classes. If your child didn’t get to join us in class, they can try making them at home with the recipe below.  Our April classes are all about breakfast:

Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds)

Breakfast Bonanza – Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019, 4-6pm

Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds)

Pancake Party – Wednesday, April 24th, 2019, 4-5pm

Pancake Party – Thursday, April 25th, 2019, 4:30-5:30pm

Chocolate Beet Muffins

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup beet puree
  • ¼  cup maple syrup, agave, or honey (pick ONE of these to use)
  • ⅓  cup brown sugar
  • ¼  teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½  teaspoon baking soda (1 teaspoon + ½ teaspoon, or ½ teaspoon measured 3 times)
  • ¼  cup vegetable oil
  • ¼  cup soy milk
  • ½  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ⅓ cups wheat flour (1 cup + ⅓ cup)
  • ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips + more for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line a mini muffin tray with paper liners.

Whisk ground flax and water in a large mixing bowl and let rest for 5 minutes. Measure the rest of the ingredients while you wait.

Add beet puree, oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and whisk for 45 seconds.

Stir in the soy milk and whisk once more.

Add cocoa powder and flour and stir with a spoon or spatula until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. The batter should be quite thick. 

Lastly, stir in chocolate chips. Then divide batter evenly between muffin tins (they should be filled just to the top).

Bake for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, remove from tins and let cool on a cooling rack. Will keep covered for several days. Freeze for longer-term storage.

Read the rest of the March Sprout!

Photo by Norm Eggert.

2019 Orchard Internship

Spend your summer working with a leading Central Massachusetts non-profit organization as they continue to improve operations and expand their reach of healthy produce to Worcester County’s most vulnerable. Gain valuable experience and learn about a sustainable orchard and volunteer organization, the basics of non-profit operations, and volunteer organizing while you spend your summer outdoors. Work directly with an experienced Orchard Manager, responsible for 30 acres of fruit trees. Be part of a dynamic team aiding hunger relief in Worcester County while exploring your future.  

Responsibilities

Our Interns will participate fully in all aspects of operating a non-profit volunteer farming organization at our orchard. They will have direct hands-on engagement in farming 30 acres of fruit trees. Including 3,200 apple trees and 150 peach trees nestled on a 75 acre property in Harvard, MA.  They will be involved in orchard operations and have opportunities to participate in special projects. Tasks include but not limited to:

  • Assist with orchard tasks such as pruning, fruit thinning, fertilizing, crop/growth analysis, mowing, irrigation, pest control, weed management, and property upkeep under the direction of our Orchard Manager.
  • Assist with maintaining a positive volunteer experience for all who visit the farm
  • Occasional visits to work with our farm team in North Grafton, MA will be required.    
  • Support and work on some organizational events as needed
  • Other tasks as needed

Educational Components

  • Interns will have the opportunity to work with and learn from all staff members of the non-profit and will gain insight into the multi-faceted operations of the organization
  • Interns will be responsible for completing a project proposal to benefit the future capacity of the organization. This proposal will be completed as a group and will require collaboration and outside-the-box thinking.  
  • The internship also includes off-site visits to partner organizations which allows students an opportunity to learn more about local hunger relief efforts and non-profit partnerships.

Requirements, qualified applicants will:

  • Have interest and/or some experience in farming or gardening
  • Be an excellent communicator and be able to demonstrate previous leadership responsibility
  • Be able to lift farm equipment and/or produce weighing up to 50 pounds
  • Be comfortable using or learning to use power tools like weed-whackers and lawn mowers
  • Be prepared for work in outdoor weather conditions, we operate rain or shine
  • Work within a team or independently, be self-motivated, with great attention to detail
  • Have reliable transportation   
  • Be available for 30 hours per week, June through August, working primarily morning hours with an occasional late afternoon/early evening or Saturday
  • Be flexible and have a sense of humor! This is a real farming operation and we operate at the whim of nature, so flexibility is key.

Organization Information:

Community Harvest Project (CHP), a 501(c)3 organization, is dedicated to improving access to healthy foods through community engagement.  Through their volunteer farming, education, and volunteer programs and partnerships, they bring thousands of community members together each year to build an engaged and healthier Worcester County.  In 2018 working together with over 9,000 volunteers they produced significant fresh produce resources for individuals and families in need throughout our community who otherwise may not have had access.  The produce is donated through numerous partner organizations such as The Worcester County Food Bank, Community Servings, Loaves and Fishes, Jeremiah’s Inn, and The Hector Reyes House.  CHP operates at Brigham Hill Community Farm and White’s Farm in North Grafton, MA and at Prospect Hill Farm in Harvard, MA.  

For more information about their programs and impact, please visit www.community-harvest.org.

Contact

To apply send letter of interest and resume via e-mail to Wayne McAuliffe, Manager of Volunteer Programs, at wayne@community-harvest.org

Seasonal Farm Assistant

We are currently seeking a Farm Assistant to work under the direction of our Farm Manager at the Brigham Hill Community Farm site, located in North Grafton.  The ideal candidate will have at least one year of experience in agricultural work, will be motivated, have a friendly personality, and enjoy working with individuals of all ages and abilities. See below for more qualifications.

Interested applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and 2-3 professional references by March 22, 2019 to dave@community-harvest.org.

Schedule:  This is a blended, seasonal position, spanning April through October —  20 hours per week during months of April and October (days flexible) / 40 hours per week May through August (Tuesday through Saturday)   

Compensation: $15.00 per hour; 5 days paid sick time; paid holidays May through August

Role Description: This position focuses on providing a positive volunteer experience and growing high quality produce suited for donation to area hunger relief agencies.

Duties and responsibilities

  • Assist in all farming operations:
  • Executing daily agricultural duties
  • Executing daily produce distributions
  • Monitoring of equipment and recommending related repairs/replacements
  • Monitoring of safety plan and ensuring its execution
  • Execution of skilled/restricted farm activities
  • Assisting in basic property maintenance (mowing, brush removal, etc)
  • Assist in all volunteer operations:
  • Overseeing volunteer groups and overseeing their proper completion of tasks
  • Working with volunteers throughout their assigned sessions
  • Ensuring a positive volunteer experience through all of the above
  • Assist the Orchard Manager on special projects (ie pruning), as assigned by the Farm Manager or Executive Director

Qualifications

  • 1+ year of agricultural experience
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds
  • Ability to work in all types of weather including rain and snow
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Positive, self-starting attitude

Community Harvest Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization  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.

Part Time Volunteer Program Assistant

2019 Part Time Volunteer Program Assistant Job Description

We are currently seeking a Part Time Volunteer Program Assistant to work under the direction of our Manager of Volunteer Programs 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.

Interested applicants  should email a cover letter, resume, and 2-3 references by March 22, 2019 to wayne@community-harvest.org.  

Schedule: This is a part time, seasonal position from April 15 through August 31. 10 hours per week, Monday-Friday with morning or afternoon availability

Compensation: $13.00 per hour

Job Description: The Volunteer Program 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 Manager of Volunteer Programs with Volunteer Operations
    • Provide support to Volunteer Programs
    • Serve as point-of-contact for potential and current volunteers
    • Complete projects as needed
  • Weekly Scheduling
    • Utilize Salesforce platform to assist in scheduling volunteers
    • Follow up with volunteer group coordinators via phone and email
  • Volunteer Engagement
    • Greet and present to  volunteers when they arrive to our farm
  • Data tracking and Reporting
    • Gather data on Volunteer Programs and produce output
    • Create comprehensive reports to guide the trajectory of the program

Specific Qualifications Include:

  • Knowledge of Google and Windows Suite
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills
  • Cloud based platform experience, preferably Salesforce   
  • Positive, self-starting attitude

Community Harvest Project (CHP), a 501(c)3 organization, is dedicated to improving access to healthy foods through community engagement.  Through their volunteer farming, education, and volunteer programs and partnerships, they bring thousands of community members together each year to build an engaged and healthier Worcester County.  In 2018 working together with over 8,700 volunteers they produced significant fresh produce resources for individuals and families in need throughout our community who otherwise may not have had access.  The produce is donated through numerous partner organizations such as The Worcester County Food Bank, Community Servings, Loaves and Fishes, Jeremiah’s Inn, and The Hector Reyes House.  CHP operates at Brigham Hill Community Farm and White’s Farm in North Grafton, MA and at Prospect Hill Farm in Harvard, MA.

A New Volunteer Opportunity with CHP!

volunteer photoHave you or someone you know always wanted to volunteer with CHP?  Do you have skills that are not quite a good fit for our Volunteer Farming Program?  We have a new way to get involved that might just be right up your alley. We are assembling a group of specialized volunteers that would be willing to support our farm team in the more complex challenges of the farm.  This team will operate from February through November on Tuesday mornings to help us drive our mission further, operate our farms more smoothly and support our farm staff throughout the year. Support needs will include pruning of hedge rows and fruit bushes, brush clearing, basic carpentry, property improvements and both pre and post season field preparations.  This team will work together to complete projects and help us to clear up a backlog of outstanding needs.

If you’re a recent retiree looking to put your hands to work for a good cause, or someone looking to get outside in the natural environment a few hours a week working with like minded folk towards a goal, this could be your calling.  We will work throughout the seasons and sometimes in adverse weather conditions (this is New England after all). We practice safe work standards on all of our properties so a little equipment knowledge would be helpful but we are willing to teach new skills.  This volunteer role could involve utilizing analog hand tools, power tools, chainsaws, mowers and weed whackers.
If you are interested in learning more we will have a brief informational session on Tuesday, March 5th here at 37 Wheeler Road, North Grafton.  For more information feel free to call (774)551-6544 or email our volunteer team at volunteer@community-harvest.org.