Community Harvest Project celebrates certification as a Service Enterprise.

We are pleased to announce that CHP has received our certification as a Points of Light Service Enterprise sponsored by the Massachusetts Service Alliance and the MetroWest Nonprofit Network. Service Enterprise certification is a prestigious accomplishment for an organization. In fact, organizations that certify join the top 11 percent of nonprofits nationwide in volunteer management and organizational performance. Service Enterprise certification indicates that the organization has the capability and management expertise to strategically leverage volunteers to improve the performance of their organization.

“This Service Enterprise Program has highlighted our success in organizing volunteers in support of our mission while challenging us to think differently and explore additional opportunities for growth. It has refocused our staff and board on the importance of leading with volunteerism and on expanding our reach with all programming. In addition, the certification process has provided us with tools and training resources that will continue to be useful as we evaluate all facets of our operation and grow for years to come.” said Wayne McAuliffe, Manager of Volunteer Programs at CHP.

Nutritional education and access to fresh produce changes lives.

Photo Provided by The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden.

As we look forward to everything that 2021 has in store for us, our partners, and our volunteers, we want to take a moment to take a look back on some successes of 2020. One such success is the nutritional education and farm share distribution program run by our hunger relief partner, The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden. The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden is a cancer support center dedicated to providing cancer support, therapeutic services and education to all people facing cancer.


For a fifth consecutive year, participants of the LiveWell Program received monthly boxes of food pantry items including grains, spices, legumes and some of our produce, paired with specialized instruction from local chef Amy Noordzji to help incorporate the novel nutrition into their regular diets. 
Over 68% of participants in the LiveWell program reported that their consumption of healthy, fresh produce was limited by the cost of that produce.


“Due to COVID-19 and income uncertainty earlier this year, we cut down monthly spending by buying less perishable food.” – A LiveWell Program Participant.


Because of the food shares provided by the LiveWell program from our farm, participants experienced an up to 65% reduction in nutritional concerns and a 50% improvement in overall being, showing that ACCESS to fresh produce paired with nutritional lessons and group support solves a vast range of nutritional concerns and problems. 


Because of the access to fresh foods, 84% of the LiveWell Participants ate all of the vegetables provided in the biweekly shares and formed a healthy eating habit – almost all participants more than doubled their original fruit and vegetable consumption! 

Job Posting: Orchard Assistant

Community Harvest Project is a 501(c)3 non profit farm that engages volunteers to grow fruits and vegetables to provide to those experiencing hunger.  Through our volunteer farming programs and community partnerships, we bring thousands of community members together each year to improve access to healthy foods for individuals and families across Worcester County and other local communities.  

We are currently seeking an orchard assistant to work under the direction of our orchard manager at our Harvard site, the Prospect Hill Community Orchard.  This 75-acre property includes approximately 27 acres of apple trees, an acre of peaches and an acre of asparagus.  The vast majority of the crops are grown for donation to our partner agencies.

The right candidate will have experience working in an orchard and/or other agricultural work, will be self-motivated, have a friendly personality, and enjoy working with individuals of all ages and abilities.  See below for more information.

Job Purpose:

  • Assist in all orchard operations under the direction of the Orchard Manager:
    • Help execute daily agricultural duties
      • Planting
      • Weed control
      • Irrigation
      • Fertilization
      • Mowing
      • Pruning
      • Equipment maintenance
      • General property maintenance
      • Other farm duties
  • Help execute Harvest Duties
    • Picking
    • Grading and packing
    • Partner distributions
    • Occasional deliveries
  • Execute skilled/restricted farm activities after necessary training
    • Operate trucks, atvs, tractors, loaders, mowers, fork trucks, sprayers, weed trimmers, chainsaws, plows, fertilizer spreaders and other farm equipment and tools
    • Apply fungicides, insecticides, PGRs, herbicides, rodenticides, and plant nutrients 
  • Assist in all volunteer operations
    • Work with team leaders to plan volunteer sessions
    • Oversee, train and work with volunteer groups
    • Oversee, train and work with farm interns
    • Provide a positive volunteer experience

Benefits:

  • Compensation: negotiable based on experience
  • Time off:  two weeks paid time off in year 1 and 2 to increase in following years per employee handbook guidelines.  5 days of paid sick time.  13 paid holidays.
  • Employer-sponsored individual health insurance with 50% of coverage paid by employer
  • Employer-sponsored 401k plan (no match)
  • Education/workshop fees for necessary licensure and credits 

Qualifications: 

  • 2 years working in a farm setting
  • 1 year of tractor experience, other farm equipment and power tool experience a plus
  • Knowledge of Integrated Pest Management and a Pesticide Applicator License a plus
    • If you do not have your PAL, training will be provided and CHP will pay for licensure.
  • Ability to lift 50lbs
  • Ability to work in all weather conditions
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Positive, self-starting attitude

To apply please send a resume and cover letter to susan@community-harvest.org.

311,500 individual servings to feed our neighbors.

July was an extremely busy month at both our locations! Over 69,000 pounds have been donated for hunger relief so far this season! Our farm team has been working day in and day out to harvest all the produce still in our fields. Just this week, okra, cucumbers, cabbage and tomatoes have been picked, washed and packed with the help of our wonderful volunteers. Our orchard has started their harvest season as well!


Thank you to the following July funders for their support of our mission to provide fresh, healthy produce for individuals in our community experiencing hunger. Ludcke Foundation, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Bridging Peace of Tides Foundation, Fletcher Foundation, Mathworks, The Vela Foundation and Bristol Myers Squibb have granted critical funds that will help us continue to harvest for hunger relief throughout the 2020 season.

Volunteers Needed!!

Your help is needed at our Harvard Orchard, It’s apple season! 


It’s time to begin getting our apples off the trees and all we need now is some group volunteers to fill in our schedule. There is no better activity than being outside in an apple orchard on a fall morning. These apples will be donated directly to hunger relief partners throughout Central Massachusetts making your time a great way to support our community. We have strict social distancing protocols in place and the work is outdoors in the orchard or in our open air packing room to keep you safe during your visit. 


We have a significant amount of volunteers needed from now through the end of October. Consider organizing a group visit with your colleagues, neighbors, family and friends. To sign up and request a volunteer date please fill out and submit this form. Any questions, please email Wayne McAuliffe directly at wayne@community-harvest.org

Over 36,000 Lbs Harvested For Hunger Relief So Far!!

We are in the middle of our busiest season around the farm – harvest season! Our farm team and volunteers have been harvesting vegetables everyday including eggplant, tomatoes, okra, tomatillos and zucchini. Carrots and beets were planted just last week and our second planting of summer squash and zucchini has germinated and will be ready for harvest in late August and into September.


To date, our team has harvested over 36,316 pounds of vegetables; that is over 166,565 individual servings going to neighbors in our community currently experiencing hunger. And there are still thousands of pounds of produce in the fields to harvest. If you are interested in volunteering with us this summer – we would love to have you! We are now holding early shifts from 7am to 9am on Tuesdays and Thursdays in addition to our 9am-12pm shifts Monday-Saturday. We are also now accepting group volunteer requests (25 people or less) for our orchard schedule starting August 28 through October 9th. For more information and to signup, click here.

Harvard Residents Support APR!

On June 20, 2020 at their Annual Town Meeting, voters in the Town of Harvard agreed to contribute $150,000 of Community Preservation Funds toward the purchase of an agricultural preservation restriction (APR) for our Prospect Hill Orchard!

To ensure the long lasting future of harvesting fruit for hunger relief at our orchard, we have teamed up with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the Town of Harvard, Harvard Conservation Trust (HCT), and the Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) to raise funds to endow our orchard through the sale of the APR, which will allow farming to continue on the land and prevent the property from ever being developed.

The Impact of One Million

2019 was a milestone year. At the conclusion of the 2019 harvesting season, we had officially donated over ONE MILLION pounds of produce for hunger relief in just 5 years. Nutritious fruits and vegetables were made available to 83,538 of our neighbors who don’t have enough nutrient-rich food to put on their tables.
This benchmark, however, would not have been possible without our community of dedicated volunteers, staff, board members, hunger relief partners, interns, monthly givers, corporate sponsors and our hundreds of individual donors. To read about the Impact of One Million in our 2019 Annual Report, and all the people who helped us get there – click here!