World Hunger Day, May 28

World Hunger IIWorld Hunger Day is about raising the awareness of chronic hunger.

The silent, invisible, day-after-day condition affects 795 million people worldwide. Currently, 1 in 6 people in America experience hunger.  Locally, over 100,000 Worcester County residents utilized emergency hunger relief services over the past year.  This is approximately 12% of our neighbors and over 39% are children under the age of 18.  

This is where Community Harvest Project’s work begins. Donations to CHP will help to support our efforts in hunger relief and food insecurity on a local level while spreading awareness about world hunger. CHP creates engaged and healthier communities by bringing volunteers together to provide healthy food to those experiencing hunger, so they can have a healthy diet and avoid the health problems that come with poor nutrition.

Donate to CHP through our Adopt-a-Row and Adopt-a-Tree programs, and help make a difference in the lives our your neighbors.  You will help put fresh fruits and vegetables into the hands and homes of people who need it most. Thank you for helping us raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity.

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Peaches Planted at Harvard Orchard

20170419_092547This April at the orchard we kicked off a new growing season by planting 160 peach trees.  The planting covers about an acre and replaced 120 of some of our oldest apple trees.  Six different peach varieties were planted and once they begin to bear fruit will give us a steady crop from the end of July to the end of August.  Peach trees grow fast and will start producing a nice crop in the summer of 2019.

The addition of peaches to the orchard will expand the variety of fresh fruit that we can offer to hunger relief, as well as allow us to engage orchard volunteers earlier in the season.  Volunteers and team leaders have already been hard at work in the peach orchard helping prepare the plot and plant the new trees.  Other t20170505_125553asks to look forward to in the coming seasons are pruning, hand thinning the small fruitlets and harvesting a delicious crop of peaches!

The peach tree planting was made possible by a grant that was awarded to Community Harvest Project in 2016 by The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts.  The grant also included funding for two acres of high density apple trees which were planted last year.

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Growing From Our Roots

 

image1Being the very fortunate stewards of a legacy that was built in Hopkinton in the 1970’s by our founders Bill and Rose Abbott we are constantly in awe of how much we have grown since their simple backyard operation began.  We like to think that they would be impressed with how we have organized and expanded over the years and by the large numbers of volunteers that we engage annually.  Going from small groups of neighborhood teenagers helping us grow to the over 10,000 community members that visit our farms annually has been no easy feat.    

It can be said that we are continuing to grow from our roots and that is why we are highlighting a great group from Hopkinton that has come out to continue the tradition of helping our neighbors in need.  The Hopkinton High EXCEL Program under the direction of Katie Hibbert and Tami Magnuson has found the farm to be a great resource for engaging the individuals attending their program.  This vocational based program for 18-22 year olds is designed to allow their participants to develop life skills, job placement skills and to spend time socializing within their community.  In addition the leaders of the program and the families involved are always focused on providing experiences for them to give back, learn more about their surrounding community and to get outdoors for some exercise.  Katie and Tami have even added an element of their programming that revolves around food and preparing easily replicated recipes that introduce more vegetables in order to encourage a healthier diet.  That makes a volunteer visit to our farm even more meaningful by combining farming and nutrition.

We always look forward to our Hopkinton EXCEL volunteers arriving for their weekly visits, both during the school season and for a portion of the summer months.  Over the past couple of years we have been able to engage them in every facet of our work.  Whether it is early spring planting, weeding plants or harvesting, washing and packaging they have done it all.  They are always willing to try new things and are quite adept at navigating through the farm tasks that they are given.  With that we want to thank the entire Hopkinton EXCEL team for choosing CHP as a place to contribute and give back to the community.  Their selfless volunteering over the last couple of years has been a part of the key to our successfully continuing the tradition of growing fresh and healthy produce for donation to those in our community experiencing food insecurity.

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Spring on the Farm 2017 Recap

_DSF7108Our April vacation camp, Spring on the Farm, took place at the end of last month. Three of the days we focused on macronutrients, including protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and the last day we focused on vitamins and minerals. On healthy protein day we first started by discussing why we need protein, and how to tell the different between healthy and unhealthy proteins. It is tricky, because sometimes a one protein can be healthy and unhealthy depending on how it is prepared (like grilled chicken vs fried chicken). Then we tasted different a few kinds of beans and lentils, then made all different varieties of bean burgers. We had some skeptics, but just about everyone found a version they liked.

Another day we learned about whole grains. We talked about what a whole grain is, why they are good for us, and did a tasting. We tried quinoa, barley, brown rice, and farro. Then we made our own sushi using a favorite whole grain, brown rice. Our education intern, Meghan, taught us about healthy fats and how to read a label to tell which fats are healthy and which aren’t. Then we cooked mini-frittatas with asparagus, peppers, and cheese.

_DSF7214We did a volunteer activity each day, and the kids became expert tomato transplanters and set up all of the harvest buckets to prepare for the upcoming season. We used soil kits to test the soil in the learning garden and talked about different ways we can get plants the nutrients they need. We tested for pH (which was slightly alkaline – 7.4) and levels of phosphorus and nitrogen (which were sufficient!). This was great prep for planting in the learning garden. The kids sowed seeds for beets, carrots, radishes, chard. They also learned about compost and turned the compost in our bins. We fit in a couple hikes through Grafton Land Trust trails where we played Spring Bingo and picked up trash to celebrate Earth Day.

It was a whirlwind week of activities! If your child was unable to come, we will be hosting a few educational opportunities at the farm this summer. We will be hosting 2 kids cooking classes on July 25th and August 8th, 2:30-4pm. Cost is $20 per child per class and kids in grades 4-7 are invited. Email tori@community-harvest.org to sign up – space is limited!

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May 2017 – Recipe of the Month: Garlic Almond Green Beans

Our volunteers love to harvest all of our vegetables, but green beans are a stand out favorite. They’re a delicious sign of summer that we want everyone to experience. Our May Recipe is a classic dish that cooks of all skills can make at home any night of the week.

Garlic Almond Green Beans

Adapted from Whisk Affair

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of green beans
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tsp of chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup of slivered almonds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes

Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and fry until slightly browned. Add almonds and fry until browned. Then add the beans and salt and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle lemon juice and red chilli flakes on top and mix well. Serve hot!

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