Thank You 2018 Corporate and Foundation Grantmakers!

unumEach year Community Harvest Project relies on generous donations from community grantors to keep our programs running. Last year was no exception and in 2018 our grants supported a large range of CHP’s work, from operating support to specific equipment or programs.

Many exciting projects were made possible by these corporate and foundation grants, such as curtailing erosion and launching a new education program with South High Community School called CRAVE (ClassRoom Agriculture and Vegetable Education). They also funded the vital basics that make our operation possible, like seeds and potting soil, cardboard boxes for distributing produce, and the staff that makes the fundraises, farms, educates, and manages our volunteer programs.

Thank you to our generous grantors, listed below, who ensure that CHP can continue fulfilling our mission. In 2018, your grant support helped enable CHP to donate hundreds of thousands of servings of fresh fruits and vegetables through 14 local community partners serving 90,000 individuals and families8,726 community volunteers of all ages helped us get the work done.

Accenture
Altria Groupa and Distribution Company
AmazonSmile Foundation
AvalonBay Communities
Avidia Bank
B.GOOD
Bank of America
Bay State Savings Bank
Bemis Associates, Inc.
Benevity Community Impact Fund
Berkshire Bank
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Boston Scientific
Bridging Peace Fund Of Tides Foundation
CarMax Foundation
Chipotle
Clif Bar Family Foundation
Clinton Savings Bank
Dana Hall School
DELL Technologies
Doe Family Foundation
Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation
Fallon Health
Fletcher Foundation
FM Global Foundation
Foundation for MetroWest
Fred Harris Daniels Foundation
Frederick E. Weber Charities Corporation
French Family Foundation
George & Alice Rich Charitable Foundation
Give With Liberty
Greater Worcester Community Foundation
Hanover Insurance Group Inc.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Hoche-Scofield Foundation
Homefield Credit Union
Howard E. Stark Charitable Foundation
Intel
Lai (Voon Seng) Household
Leominster Credit Union
MathWorks
Mildred H. McEvoy Foundation
Milford National Charitable Foundation Inc.
Myra Kraft Community MVP Award
National Grid
Nypro – A Jabil Company
Ocean Spray
Osterman Propane
People’s United Bank
PolyOne Distribution
Project Bread
Quite Fetching
Roots in Nature
Ruth H. and Warren A. Ellsworth Foundation
Schwartz Charitable Foundation
State Street Foundation, Inc.
Stonewall Fund
Stop & Shop Supermarkets
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals
Target
Tufts University
UniBank
United Way Of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
Unum
UPS
Vertex Foundation
Webster Five Foundation
Wegmans
Winning Home, Inc.
Worcester County Food Bank
Worcester Garden Club
Wyman-Gordon
Yesod Foundation, Inc.
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2019 Brings Exciting New Changes to CHP!

Our New Executive Director

katWe are excited to announce the appointment our new Executive Director, Kat Edwards, who will be taking over the CHP helm from Cordelia Lyon. In her new position Ms. Edwards will lead the foundation’s strategic planning and execution by working collaboratively on a wide range of issues related to CHP’s mission. She plans to continue to develop and grow our community partnerships with leaders in food insecurity nonprofits, business, and government, as well as oversee the existing and evolving volunteer partnerships with our amazing farm and orchard managers. In her role as Executive Director Edwards will provide the Board of Directors with clear strategic leadership and tactical direction while overseeing daily operations at our Grafton farms and Harvard orchard properties.

She is an accomplished professional with many years in executive management of Boston companies and years of managing non-profit organizations. Ms. Edwards most recently worked as a private consultant to foundations and educational institutions, and before that was the Executive Director of The Rappaport Foundation in Boston. Prior to that she worked for The Concord Land Conservation Trust, as an Environmental Commissioner for the Town of Concord, and as Executive Vice President of Donald Tofias & Co. While working for the Land Trust and as a Conservation Commissioner, Edwards interfaced closely with developers, Trustees, town officials, landowners and wealthy donors on complex conservation initiatives and successfully managed the numerous acquisition campaigns for critical land threatened with development.

Kat’s extensive experience in nonprofit development and implementation of marketing strategies, e-based public relations, and communications initiatives also add to what she will be bringing to CHP. She has proven to be an innovative leader who demonstrates outstanding strategic thinking and analytical planning with flexibility, creativity and systemic thought. Edward’s diverse background and creative vision is the perfect fit to advance CHP’s goals of expanding its mission and creating new partnerships.

“I am so lucky to be part of the CHP team. I believe a great nonprofit team requires not only a deep commitment to the foundation’s mission, but also collaborative skills that include conviction, vision and tons of creative energy. I believe CHP’s sincerity of purpose inspires our volunteers to believe that they can make a difference, and then we enable them to make that difference. We plant the seed and they grow that dream into reality. Cordie did an amazing job at CHP and I am excited to move her work forward!” said Kat.

Please join us in welcoming her aboard!

Next month:

Our New Board Member: Bob Paulsen

A Board Member moves on: John Wornham

Schedule Your 2019 Volunteer Visit With Community Harvest Project

wegmanssunflowercrew2 07.29.2018As an organization that relies heavily on support from our community to do the work of the farm we are lucky to have such a loyal following of volunteers.  Year after year we see many of the same groups who look forward to coming out to our farms to assist us in providing healthy and fresh locally grown produce to our local hunger relief partners.  What better way to spend a cold winter day than to begin planning a visit out to our farms this spring, summer or fall?

As we head into the 2019 farming season we are excited to welcome both our loyal regular volunteers and the many new friends that we typically encounter throughout the year back to our farms.  With that comes the need to begin organizing the schedule, we will begin taking Group Volunteer Scheduling Requests for our 2019 Season on Monday, January 14th.    

Here are just a few of the comments from past visitors, come on out and join in the fun!community-servings-07.13.2018.jpg

“Please keep doing fun, community-driven, food-related, volunteering projects like this!”

“The importance of caring and helping those in need makes me feel good knowing that my small part in this experience will make a part of their life a little better or easier. “

“The people are wonderful, the experience is wonderful and I’m thankful that my company allows us time to step away from our desks and do something good for such a worthy cause. Thank you to all the good folks there that do what they do everyday to ensure those less fortunate can get healthy food into their diets.  Your work is so important and we ALL appreciate it and the opportunity to jump in and help every year.”

If you are interested in joining in for our 2019 Season and bringing your group out to volunteer it’s as easy as visiting our CHP volunteer page and filling out and submitting a Group Leader Interest Form.            

The Power of Volunteers: 2018 in Review

south unumAs we end our year we need to ensure that we reflect back and offer a hearty thank you to the thousands of volunteers that visited our farms in 2018. This group of over 8,726 strong is the key to our success. During our early season they come out and plant thousands of seedlings, they pull weeds, harvest, wash and package veggies and help us put our farms to rest again at the end of the season. All of this work is done in the outdoors in the many types of weather that New England throws our way, sometimes several types of weather in one day. All of this selfless work and time is given so that we are able to grow and donate healthy locally grown produce to those seeking hunger relief services throughout the community that we serve. Through the work of our selfless volunteers and all of the hours that they serve we are able to function like a well oiled machine, for that we are eternally grateful.

In the midst of the large number of volunteers there is a small but mighty force of Volunteer Team Leaders leading the charge and helping to facilitate the work of our farms. In 2018 we had 45 Volunteer Team Leaders serve at our farms and they are the glue that holds this place together. Whether they are serving on an advisory committee, working in the fields with our diverse groups of volunteers, helping to prune or deliver to one of our community partners or volunteering at an event this group always can be counted on to represent CHP in the best of light. Their energy, drive and commitment is top notch and without them there would be no volunteer operation here at our farms. So, please join us in thanking our 2018 Volunteer Team Leaders for all that they do day in and day out to welcome and engage our thousands of volunteers. We could not do this great work without them and are humbled by their presence.  

So, to all of our thousands of volunteers, 44 Volunteer Team Leaders, Volunteer Board Members, Advisory Committee Members and outside Group Coordinators we would like to say a hearty thank you for all that you do. It takes a lot of effort to make this look easy and without you all we would be lost.

Thank you all for your support and we hope to see you all back on our farms in 2019.  

Double your impact before the year ends

okra barnGive today and double your impact! Donate to the “One Step Further” campaign!

We are reminded daily of people like yourself who give so selflessly to those in need.  One of our food insecure clients from Loaves and Fishes shares her story with us, “…we receive fresh produce twice a month and it helps us to eat healthier and before using the food pantry I could not afford to buy fresh veggies. Thank you so much.” It is stories like these that remind us why we do what we do and take our passion one step further to help those in need.

Did you know that a $25 donation will provide 68 servings of green beans, $50 will provide 136 servings of leafy greens, or $100 will harvest 270 servings of cabbage? Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, 60,000 food insecure community members received fresh, nutritious produce this summer. However, hunger is an ongoing issue that does not end just because the harvest does. That is why our work never stops and we take steps to ensure every neighbor has access to healthy food they need.

vegWould you be willing to take your passion one step further and make a donation to feed families in need? Donate today and your contribution will make double the impact, because our generous donors, Major General Robert and Karen Catalanotti, are supporting our efforts with a matching gift of $10,000. This means that every dollar you donate will be doubled.  Walk the walk with us, donate to the “One Step Further” campaign, and make a real, lasting impact in the lives of the food insecure community.

With your contribution, you too will be a partner in building a healthy and engaged community!  We cannot do it without you! Thank you!

Donate today at:
http://bit.ly/OneStepFurther2018

P.S.  Share this message with your friends and family and let’s triple or quadruple our impact! Check with your employer too and see if they will match your donation.

 

 

2019 Cooking Class Schedule

kids cookingWe’re excited to release our 2019 Cooking Class Schedule! All cooking classes emphasize nutrition and skill development. Vegetable tasting and preparation is an integral part of every class, and in the growing season every class includes harvesting ingredients from the learning garden. We’re repeating some old favorites, but also added some new topics.

All classes are drop-off and include hands-on cooking the students will do, plus recipes that will be sent home. All classes are vegetarian, but may include allergens. All proceeds from cooking classes support Community Harvest Project’s hunger relief efforts. View the entire 2019 class schedule here!

Broccoli Head Chefs

These 2-hour classes are for 9-12 year olds and emphasize specific nutrition topics, following advanced recipes, and adjusting recipes to your own tastes. This year we are offering Broccoli Head Chef’s classes on rotating days of the week and from 4-6pm.

dipCelery Sous Chefs

These 1-hour classes are geared towards 5-8 year olds and emphasize basic nutrition, reading recipes, measuring, and tasting new things. New this year we are offering two Celery Sous Chef classes each month which feature the same topic but take place on different days of the week and at different times to accommodate more schedules.

What’s Cooking: Mini Taco Cups

cooking class

Our last classes of the year focused on easy, healthful recipes chock-full of protein that can be made for a party. These taco cups were a huge hit and could just as easily be made for a weeknight dinner. Yes, you could use ground meat of some kind, but they are definitely worth trying with beans! With all of the topping options, meat isn’t even missed.

If this looks like a recipe your child would like, check out the taco classes we’ll be running in March along with the rest of the 2019 cooking class schedule here.

January Classes:

Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds)

Super Soup – Wednesday, January 30th, 2019, 4-6pm

Soup is a nutritious, warming, one-pot meal! We’ll learn to build layers of flavor to make delicious, vegetarian soups with simple pantry ingredients and vegetables.

Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds)

***Please note these classes are the same topic but take place at different times and on different days of the week***

Snack Attack – Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019, 4:30-5:30pm

Snack Attack – Monday, January 28th, 2019, 4-5pm (only 3 spots left!)

When you are hungry in between meals it is easy to reach for a bag of chips or a cookie…but wait! If we think ahead we can make healthy snacks that can hold us over until the next meal.

Taco Cups

Makes 24 mini muffin tacos

Filling:

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn (frozen is fine, but thaw before you start)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Assembly and toppings:

  • Whole wheat tortillas (5 if using 12”)
  • 1 cup grated Mexican blend cheese
  • Optional toppings: salsa, sour cream or Greek yogurt, avocado or guacamole, diced jalapenos, shredded lettuce or cabbage, tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Using a potato masher or a fork, mash the black beans until they form a chunky paste. Add in the corn, cumin, oregano, paprika, chili powder (if using) and salt. Stir to combine.

Cut the tortillas into 9 pieces by cutting it evenly into thirds in one direction, and then in thirds again (if you are using regular muffin tins just do fourths). Spray or oil the muffin tin and press the tortilla pieces to fit. Put a spoonful of the filling into each tortilla piece, and then top with a sprinkle of cheese.

Bake taco cups for 10 minutes, or until the tortilla edges are crispy and the cheese is melted.

Serve with your choice of toppings and enjoy!

What’s Cooking: Beta Carotene

carrotsOur October cooking classes were bittersweet because they were the last ones we spent in the garden. Even though most of the garden was put to bed, we still harvested kale, carrots, beets, dill, sage, cilantro, and parsley. In our apple cooking classes we used local apples for an apple tasting and then the Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds) made baked apple oatmeal and apple slices topped with their choice of toppings including sun butter, coconut flakes, dried fruit, and mini chocolate chips. The Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds) made the same baked oatmeal, plus a raw apple crisp and a kale salad with apples and beets.

Our Halloween classes featured beta carotene. Both ages learned about the health benefits of this vibrant pigment that can be found in carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe (and other plants too!). It helps our eyes be able to see (but doesn’t improve vision), helps with growth and development, and supports a healthy immune system. The Celery Sous Chef classes made two festive dips: a pumpkin white bean dip and a black bean dip. The Broccoli Head Chef class made both of those dips plus a roasted butternut squash, apple and leek soup, and a grated carrot salad.

This carrot salad does take a bit of work grating, but it was a big hit! The kids wear a pair of these gloves while grating as extra protection against cuts.

Our cooking classes are almost done for the year, but a few are still open! The 2019 schedule will be posted in December.

Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds)

Magic Eggs – Tuesday, November 27th, 2018, 3:30-5:30pm

It’s a Party! – Monday, December 10th, 2018, 3:30-5:30pm

Shredded Carrot Salad

Recipe adapted from My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Leibovitz

  • 2 pounds carrots
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Juice from 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped herbs such as parsley or chives

Using the large holes of a box grater (or using a food processor), grate the carrots.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the olive oil, salt, mustard, sugar, and lemon juice. Toss the grated carrots in the dressing with the chopped herbs.

Harvest Home Festival and 5K 2018

5kCommunity Harvest Project’s Harvest Home Festival & 5K was Sunday, November 4th and once again it was a HUGE success! The day started with the annual 5K with over 200 runners and walkers that ran the new course through our fields and Grafton Land Trust trails.

The weather was perfect for all our outdoor activities. The kid’s interactive area entertained all ages with a petting zoo, alpacas, CHP hay wagon story time by Grafton Public Library and sing-a-longs.

The grove was bustling with activity lead by Mark from JAM DJ Events who provided music and enhanced the vibe in the grove. Anzio’s Wood Fired Pizza and Say Cheese food trucks served up lunch, and the CHP bake sale had hot homemade soup, delicious cookies, breads, donuts, and not to mention yummy warm apple crisp made by Blackstone Valley Tech with ice cream.

hh1Meanwhile in the barn, the kids craft area and Happy Face Painting were bustling with kids having a blast making sun catchers, spin art, and duct tape wallets to name a few crafts. Our raffle tables had several baskets filled with gift certificates from local vendors and beautiful quilts were available as well!

Back outside, kids (and adults) line up to shoot the apple cannon; this activity always thrills the kids and the audience. The pumpkin trebuchet competition was a huge hit with attendees cheering on the teams working the catapults and sending pumpkins up to 500 feet across our fields. In the afternoon, Big John Short played for several hours by the campfire while everyone had homemade s’mores.

CHP would like to thank the community and all the 150 volunteers for coming out and supporting our mission.  All proceeds from Harvest Home support our hunger relief efforts. We hope you can join us next year on November 3rd, 2019!

Cover crop for healthy soil

covercrop1

Vetch (L) and winter rye (R)

A question we hear a lot here on the farm is “What goes on here all winter?”.  The answer is quite a bit actually! To be sure, just as each year’s field work and clean-up are being finished in the fall, a great deal of planning and preparation is beginning to get ready for the following year. From seed schedules and planting maps to equipment maintenance and supply ordering, many moving parts come together to prepare for a successful growing season at Community Harvest Project. Even during all of this planning and preparation, the farm fields are hard at work as well.

covercrop2

Vetch and winter rye being mixed and inoculated for better germination. 

Our final fall clean-up step in the field is to plant cover crops everywhere that we cultivated during the course of the previous season. A cover crop is an intentionally-planted vegetative “cover” for the exposed soil left behind after all the vegetables have been harvested from the field. This soil is often drained of much of its nutritional content by the season’s crops. When exposed, it is also in danger of springtime erosion as winter snows begin to melt and water runs its course. Here at CHP we plant a mixture of winter rye and vetch during the autumn months. Winter rye grows quickly, is frost tolerant, and establishes strong, complex root systems which hold valuable organic soil in place and help to keep unwanted weeds at bay. Vetch is a legume which, like most bean plants, has the amazing ability to return depleted nitrogen back into the soil. Nitrogen is one of a plant’s most important sources of nutrition. Vetch also produces beautiful, purple flower clusters which are a favorite among many of our most common pollinators.

covercrop3.jpgWhen spring returns, we mow the cover crops to the ground and plow the organic material into the soil. This returns all of the nutrients that the plants absorbed during the fall months. The added benefit is that this process also incorporates a wealth of vegetative, organic material directly back into the ground, thus continuing to build on our beautiful and rich topsoil. Even when the veggies aren’t growing, the farm is working to be ready for many more seasons ahead.