Greetings and Goodbyes at CHP

Brittany PicIf you’ve ever visited the Community Harvest Project offices, then you’re familiar with the whirling dervish that is Brittany Grenon. Filled with energy, new ideas, and a passion for CHP that can’t be beat, Brittany worked tirelessly to build up our fundraising program. This past month Brittany transitioned out of her role at CHP, but not before accomplishing many great things!

One of her greatest achievements was bringing Salesforce to CHP. Salesforce has allowed us to digitize our volunteer sign-ups and scheduling, better track our donations, and reach out to our community in more ways than ever before. It now forms the backbone of our operations, and it’s hard to imagine our office operating any other way! Brittany also worked to build up our Harvest Home 5K event to over 200 runners, brought new life to our appeals and materials, and more. While we will miss her spunky presence in the office, we can’t wait to see she does next in her community.

Carolyn_Resized IIWhen it came time to look for a new Development Manager, we decided to transition this role to full-time. As our organization continues to grow, so too have our fundraising needs. That’s where our newest team member, Carolyn Ambrose, comes in! Carolyn comes to us after several years of development work at The Hanover Theatre in downtown Worcester. Her experience, great sense of humor, and positive energy are already working their magic on our office.

Read below to learn more about Carolyn:

Q: Why did you choose to come to CHP?
A: I love CHP’s mission to improve access to healthy fruits and vegetables for those who need them most.  My background is in development for a nonprofit organization that shares the same passion as CHP to create healthy and engaged communities through volunteering.  I plan to personally engage individuals and corporations not only for donations and sponsorship opportunities but also with the help of the CHP team to offer them the invaluable experience and the wonderful feeling of doing good in the community.  Doing both successfully will make my heart sing.

Q:What are you tackling in your first weeks here?
A: I’m enjoying learning all about the farming industry – it is absolutely fascinating!  The team is so helpful, engaging and smart!  And boy do they work hard, really hard!

Q: When you’re not at the barn, what activities do you enjoy?
A: When I’m not at the barn, you can find me on the beach in Cape Cod reading a book, skiing, hiking or walking, spending time with my family and friends or tending my own garden – I love to weed.

Q: What’s your favorite vegetable? How do you like to cook it?
A: I adore tomatoes smothered in mayo with salt and pepper! I also love them in my husband’s Italian gravy with garlic and fresh basil over pasta, it is to die for!

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Support CHP By Adopting a Row or Tree!

cubanelle-and-bellOur farmers have been hard at work this winter repairing equipment, pruning apple trees and creating crop plans in preparation of our upcoming growing season! In 2017, volunteers will help Community Harvest Project plant 256 rows of crops and care for 3,200 apple trees. Will you support these crops by contributing to our Adopt-a- Row or Adopt-a- Tree programs?

Your adoption of a specific fruit or vegetable directly supports caring for crops and providing essential farming supplies, including seeds and trays, potting soil, fertilizer, water, and more. You can be an important part of our season by donating today so we can sow seeds tomorrow.

With the help of your contribution, CHP will engage over 10,000 community members in 2017 who will help us grow and donate over 250,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to those who need them most. Our combined efforts will have a significant impact on the hunger relief agencies that we donate to. Thank you for your support and we hope to see you at the farm this season!

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Coming Soon: Spring on the Farm

SpOTFSpring is here! That means the greenhouse is coming alive with sprouts, we’re prepping for volunteers, and planning spring programs. Our hallmark spring program happens over April vacation: Spring on the Farm! This is a 4-day vacation camp for 4th-7th graders, which takes place from 8:30am-2:30pm. Sign up your child for all four days for $190, or just pick the days that fit best in your schedule for $50/day. Spring on the Farm is open to residents of all towns. Activities are different each day, but all will focus on nutrition, hands-on cooking, plants, and the environment.

Since farming will be underway, we will be able to spend some time each day doing a volunteer farm task, which could be counting and filling seed trays, seeding, or transplanting outside.

7As with all of our education programs, in Spring on the Farm we focus on learning, tasting, and experimentation. Knowing what foods are healthy does little use if you don’t like to eat them! We will have a different theme every day to guide our tastings and recipes: protein, carbs, fat, and vitamins/minerals. We will learn the basics of each group, how to choose healthy options of each, and then taste and cook them. Campers are encouraged to try new things, retry things they’ve had before, try them cooked in new ways, and also make their own creations to ensure they find a way to prepare healthy foods that fits their tastes. We hope this inspires them to carry this personalization and ownership of healthy foods back to your kitchen!

The rest of our time will be spent exploring the fields and forest surrounding the farm, conducting experiments, and doing hands on crafts and activities. Space is limited, so sign up sooner rather than later! Sign up on our education page (look below Winter on the Farm), and email with additional questions.

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March 2017 – Volunteers of the Month: Eastern Michigan University

20170222_155326We recently hosted an Alternative Break with students from Eastern Michigan University who were visiting Worcester County in order to learn more about food justice.  These students took this time away from school to have meaningful discussion and immersion into the non-profit world in order to learn more about those who help to provide food to communities in need.  During their time with us they helped to prepare the greenhouses for spring planting, helped us to get caught up on some backlogged office tasks and spent some time at the orchard helping to prepare mouse guards for our thousands of trees.  In addition they visited several of our partner organizations to learn about the many facets of the challenging issues surrounding food insecurity.  They were able to tour the Worcester County Food Bank, worked in the kitchen with Community Servings, helped stock the food pantry and assist some of the recipients of food relief at Jeremiah’s Inn and ate lunch at Café Reyes a program of the Hector Reyes House.   

IMG_1560These students represented all four classes from EMU, Stephen Elugbemi – 2017, Tamara Washington – 2017, Louise Barbosa – 2017, Joshua Plonka – 2017, Kenadi Jefferson – 2018, Nolan Peterson – 2019 and Mariah McHaffie – 2020.  We truly enjoyed hosting this experience for them and feel lucky to have learned as much as they did from their impressions of the work that we do and the community in which we serve.  We would like to give them a rousing round of applause for their interest in learning more about food justice and the non-profit world.  They all showed great potential and desire to go back to their home communities to “Plant a Seed” and make a difference!  

Here are just some of the impressions that they had during their quick visit to our community:

  • About Community Harvest Project; “This organization does some amazing work with some great partners.  The heart of every organization is the leadership, and working with them has made working on the farm a fun experience that we have looked forward to taking part in.  It was surprising to us that this team was so dedicated to teaching us everything about the farm and the community, it was hard to believe that they could be equally invested in the thousands of people who come to their farm every year.  However, these days of service working side by side proves that love for the work has created a deep love for the people involved, and we have never met a more passionate group.”
  • Visiting Community Servings; “Being in a high production kitchen was amazing, but knowing where the produce is sourced as well as where it will end up enriched the experience deeply.  It was also an opportunity to meet other volunteers who had various reasons for choosing to serve their community; this strengthened my purpose as well. This activity was the most direct impact I feel I have made within this week-long experience.”
  • “Overall, this week has provided an opportunity for each of us to understand the amount of work and effort that these non-profits commit themselves to in not only building their organizations, but interacting with their communities at all levels and in every possible way.  This experience has stressed how a large movement starts by just one person dedicating their time to positively impact their environment.  While no organization is perfect, our group was able to create, from these experiences, new ideas about how we can help our own communities when we return home.”

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March 2017 – Recipe of the Month: Turnip Chips & Dip

Turnip GreensTurnips are a New England staple that tend to get their moment in the fall as a component of hearty side dishes. However, there are varieties of turnips that can be found locally starting in early summer, such as Hakurei and Scarlet Queen, in addition to fall standards like Purple Top and Golden Ball. No matter what variety of turnip you’re preparing, you can use the greens to create a new dish. This recipe keeps it simple, and uses every last bit of your turnips. 

Turnip Chips & Dip

Adapted from With the Grains

Turnip Chips:

  • 10-12 small-medium turnips & greens
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Wash, and slice the turnips thin. Set aside the turnip greens.In a large bowl, toss turnips with remaining ingredients; stirring to evenly coat them with oil and spices.Lay turnip chips flat on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-60 minutes, to desired crispness, flipping the turnips halfway through baking. Turnip chips are best enjoyed while still warm.

Turnip Dip:

  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2-3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Your set aside turnip greens
  • Handful of fresh dill
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup cashews (or nut of choice)

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter, and sautee the garlic, until soft and lightly brown. Combine the remaining butter, the garlic, and the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse to desired consistency. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
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