It goes without saying that from the time we begin planting seeds in later winter/early spring until the time we get our last crops out of the fields and get the farm ready for winter rest, this is a busy place. One question that we often get asked is what do we do in the winter months. From a volunteer standpoint this is one of the busiest times of the year as we prepare our programming, materials and recruiting for the needs of a new year. On top of beginning to schedule the thousands of volunteers that we will have coming out to do the work of the farm this time is particularly important in recruiting for our Summer Intern Program. As students begin to return to school after their long winter breaks they begin to focus on planning their summer months to explore opportunities and apply more learning to their future.
It seems funny that we are thinking about our summer intern program this early in the year doesn’t it? The fact that we have been focused on this important part of our operation led to an interesting discussion over lunch last week. We thought that we would check in with a few of our former interns and ask how the internship experience impacted them in making future decisions. The emails that we received speak for themselves and we are really proud of all of the students that we have been able to work with over the years. We are also very proud of our ability to share the great resources of our farms to impact students, their understanding of non-profit work and their futures. If you know of a college student looking for an opportunity for this summer please let them know that CHP is an option!
Alex Cohen, CHP Intern Class of 2014, Clark University
Interning with CHP provided me with hands-on experience in both the nonprofit and environmental justice worlds. I had the opportunity and the pleasure of working with other employees as well as volunteers on something bigger than ourselves. I was also able to build relationships with other interns living and going to school in Worcester who I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Even though my summer internship was almost three years ago, I talked to one of the other interns as recently as last week, which I think speaks to the culture that CHP cultivates and their emphasis on people to people interaction. Because of the versatility of CHP’s internship program, I was able to farm and do research for them, which are now two things that I care about and continue to advocate for. CHP opened the door to food and environmental related policy work, which is a topic I am planning on pursuing during graduate school.
Tyler Buckhout, CHP Intern Class of 2015/16, College of the Holy Cross
In the summer of 2015, I spent most of my days serving as a college intern at Community Harvest Project with my friends and peers, teaching volunteers how to grow fresh produce, and helping to foster the community that is so vital to the project. I learned what it meant to work hard, engage with others professionally, and develop communal relations. Due to that experience, I started asking how I could get more involved in food justice and service work. I could not find a solution in many of the mainstream avenues of business or finance. So, after college I wanted to do more for CHP than just intern. Having a foundation set in community engagement and volunteer farming, I accepted a role as Partnership Fellow serving CHP through AmeriCorps VISTA. I had to come back.
My new position keeps that ethic of hard work, professionalism, and community engagement. The internship, volunteer experience, and staff provide the fabric which holds those values close to Community Harvest Project’s whole organization. Without those pieces, I would miss out on the opportunity to learn and grow in a place deeply committed to serving others with food and community. And with those pieces, my future will be devoted to impactful work and service.
Claudia Frazer, CHP Intern Class of 2014, Clark University
My experience as the Development Intern at CHP provided me the opportunity to explore my interest in non-profit management while working on a beautiful farm. I spent the summer with one hand in the dirt and the other in the office – two roles I am lucky to maintain today. When the internship ended and I graduated from college, I joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program and served as the Fundraising and Events Coordinator at CHP. Today, I am still involved with the organization, working as the Development and Events Coordinator as a staff member. Each step I take at CHP is an incredible learning experience which allows me to grow both professionally and personally. From the first day of my internship, CHP has inspired me to harness the power of community, planting seeds of positive change wherever I go.
Joel Simonson, CHP Class of 2015, Clark University
Interning with CHP during the summer of 2015 absolutely had a direct impact on my desire to pursue nonprofit work, specifically involving access to healthy food. I am currently an employee of Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a Boston-based food rescue nonprofit that facilitates same-day collection and distribution of fresh food from groceries and a variety of additional vendors, and this would not have been possible without my experience at CHP.
CHP is driven by an inspirational mission, and while utilizing community volunteers and partnerships, the organization brings thousands of people together each year to grow fruits and vegetables to provide for those experiencing hunger. As a result, I was constantly interacting with community members of all backgrounds as a Sustainable Farm Intern. This influenced my desire to work for Lovin’ Spoonfuls, and I firmly believe I am better equipped for my current role as many of my daily responsibilities mirror those that I practiced while interning at CHP.
Read the rest of the January Sprout!