We are so excited to have this group of interns on the farm their summer, sharing their passions and making the farm an even more fun place to be. We asked each of them to share what brought them to CHP and what their experience has been so far.
“My name is Jenny Rubin and I’m a rising junior at Clark University, though I’m originally from Baltimore, MD. I’m majoring in International Development and Social Change and I have a minor in Sociology. I’m interested in going into community development work and non-profits, so working at CHP is a great introduction to that field! CHP is such a unique organization because it incorporates so many different aspects of community growth and health under one roof. It’s been incredibly rewarding watching volunteers, of all ages and walks of life, come together to work for an incredibly important cause, and I’m looking forward to meeting members of the groups that CHP donates to (like the Worcester County Food Bank) and seeing the impact on the other end. One of the most poignant moments for me so far was when a fourth grade student turned to his friends who were complaining about being hungry and said, ‘The more time we spend not eating lunch, we get to spend planting lunch for other people.’ It’s small moments like these that show what an impact Community Harvest Project’s mission has on people who volunteer, even for a short while.”
“My name is Leta Branham and I’m originally from Dallas, Texas. I’m currently a rising junior studying Geography and International Development and Social Change at Clark University. I am very interested in community outreach and love seeing how agriculture and farming can lead to community and social development. Working with Community Harvest Project is my first introduction to farming, however I have discovered a passion that I hope to pursue in both my studies and my extracurriculars. Working as an intern at Community Harvest Project has been incredibly rewarding. It is the best feeling to look around and see all that has been accomplished and the impact the organization has on the community that surrounds it. Not only does Community Harvest Project impact the lives of those that receive the produce from our farm, but since working at Community Harvest Project I have seen students’ -as well as my own- eyes light up after discovering interest in farming and planting. The volunteers and staff are not only full of knowledge and wisdom, but genuinely care about every person that passes through the farm.”
“My name is Dani Rossignol, I’m from Warren, Massachusetts, and I’m a super senior studying Biology at Becker College. I enjoy working hard and being able to see the impact that a small group of people can have on such a large community. Working at Community Harvest Project has shown me that anyone can help make a difference in the realm of hunger relief. Interning at Community Harvest Project has to be one of the best ways to spend a summer as a college student. Each day brings new tasks to learn and accomplish, there is never a sense of repeating the same tasks day-in and day-out, and there is nothing like having a beautiful piece of farmland as the daily view. There is a feeling of belonging at CHP that I felt immediately after walking onto the property, each and every staff member makes you feel welcome and as if you have been a part of the team since the day that the project started. The best feelings that I have felt working at CHP would be the sense of accomplishment and success that is felt while putting in the hard work to plant, maintain, and harvest the crops, and also the happiness that is shared every day amongst the volunteers and the staff members working to solve the hunger problem in the Worcester county. I have personally learned an abundance of knowledge about farming and solving hunger problems that I am looking forward to utilizing daily in my life.”
“My name is Jane McGrail and I am from Leicester, Massachusetts. I am a rising senior at the College of the Holy Cross where I study English and Philosophy. I love to be outside working hard and I think that it is vital to encourage everybody to love spending time outdoors starting at a young age so I am very passionate about the work that Community Harvest Project does. I have already learned so much about farming, and about myself, and I am eager to experience all that my internship will continue to teach me. This is such a wonderful way for me to spend my summer! Since beginning my internship at Community Harvest Project I have woken up every morning excited to go to work to see what the day has in store for me, and every single day I have learned something new. The volunteers and staff foster a spirit of kindness and enthusiasm that makes every task on the farm – from washing gloves, to hanging blueberry netting, to leading a group of volunteers in the field – feel like an exciting new adventure. I love how the farm serves the community dually by providing food to people who are experiencing hunger and by giving volunteers the opportunity to spend time outside in an environment that makes farming extremely accessible to a wide range of people. Community Harvest Project is a loving place that makes everybody feel welcome, valued, and eager to come back!”
“My name is Grace Beck and I’m from Stratford, Connecticut. I’m a rising senior at College of the Atlantic – a small college on an island in Maine where I major in Human Ecology. I’ve been studying agriculture, theatre, literature, and anthropology/ethnography. I also work on one of COA’s farms – Beech Hill Farm, which primarily grows vegetables and apple trees and raises pigs in the summer months. Working at CHP has helped expand my love of farming towards social change – similarly to Beech Hill’s ‘Share the Harvest’ program – but on a much larger scale. I’m so happy to work at a place where I can do what I love and make a huge impact while doing it! Working with CHP has helped me to rethink my perspectives on agriculture – especially with regards to education. Every day is something new – new volunteers, new groups helping out, new tasks to be done – and all of it is so wonderful and exciting! The team leaders and staff members are so passionate about what they do and it becomes infectious in the groups they lead. Seeing the excitement from the kids who come in for their school field trips early in the summer has been amazing – it’s great to see how they light up when they learn where food comes from (or that broccoli doesn’t grow on trees!) I love waking up, going to work, and knowing that the food we’re growing isn’t going to go to waste. Everyone here has been so welcoming and friendly – especially the volunteers, I think it takes a special kind of place to get people coming back to volunteer time and time again – and CHP is definitely that kind. One moment that really punctuated this for me was receiving a bunch of handmade cards from a fourth grade class that I had helped transplant kabocha squash the week prior thanking us (me and one of our team leaders, Jim) for helping them plant and saying they hoped we continued to help the lives of others. I’m so incredibly lucky and proud to be working here!”
“My name is Claire Jordy from Taos, NM. I am a rising senior at Dickinson College in PA where I am majoring in Environmental Studies. Many facets of the environmental realm interest me but community work and sustainable agriculture are two of those things. Recently, my focus of interest has been apple-related. Lucky for me, Community Harvest Project had an intern position available in their newly acquired apple orchard. My internship at CHP’s orchard thus far has been everything I imagined and more! The hands-on training is incredibly valuable to me; I couldn’t have learned this day-to-day information of orchard management from a book if I tried. Although we don’t have many volunteers and educational programs at the orchard yet, we still interact and consult with community members daily. Observing these interactions between the orchard manager and other pros in the field has taught me how important community connections and collaborative work is to any project. Everyone has something to offer, whether it is skill, knowledge, humor, or muscle – it takes a village to grow some apples! CHP has been an amazing place to spend my summer, and I am looking forward to my continued learning in the CHP orchard and related field trip locations.”
Next time you volunteer at the farm or orchard, make sure to stop by and say hi to our hard-working interns!