Volunteers of the Month: South High

South High groupOur volunteer highlight for June focuses not on one individual but on a group that has come together to define the power of hard work and applying newly mastered skills.  This group of students from South High has been working on leadership skills and learning the ropes at the farm as part of a partnership with Unum Insurance.  All of their hard work during the month of May was focused on three dates in June where they will have the opportunity to showcase their skills and lead adult groups of volunteers from Unum in farming activity.  The group has been through the same training as our Team Leaders with a focus on communication and youth leadership of south unum (2)adults.  This is not always an easy task but this team has the will and great personality to prove their merit.  In their time with us they learned the “sandwich” technique of giving feedback and how to engage volunteers by communicating about the work that we do here.  They also learned creative ways to focus volunteer efforts, how to redirect work, how to network for success, troubleshoot on the fly and how to succeed in trying weather conditions.  The teamwork, innovative thought process, mutual respect and fun that they brought to all of the challenges thrown their way was incredibly powerful.  In fact we likely learned more from this amazing group of students than they did.  We could not be prouder of their energetic approach to learning and their focus and determination in learning the skills that they needed to do the job right.  

south unum (3)We would like to thank and congratulate Waly Duran, Austin Truong, Net Andino, Ryan Hale, Anasia Williams, Xeron Piper, Alexi Rithcotte, Shirley Acero, Tayla Weeden, Leslie Sleywion and Ben Kam for volunteering to participate in this program.  Their ability to remain flexible, ask the right questions and test what they have learned with each other made this program go extremely smoothly.  Their commitment to take on this challenge at the end of the school year and to still do all of the hard work to wrap up loose ends at school speaks volumes to their character and effort in giving back to their community.  We would also like to thank Mrs. Papadoupoulos, South High’s Assistant Principal for helping to coordinate all of their training and visits to the farm and Unum Insurance for sponsoring this program.  

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Welcome to our 2017 Summer Intern Team

Interns 2017.JPGAs always we anticipate the arrival of our Summer Intern Team as something that marks the calendar as the official start of our Summer Volunteer Season.  This team of students comes to  us from far and wide to learn about some aspect of the work that we engage in. Their varied interests in non-profit work, farming, volunteer organizing, partnerships, fundraising, hunger relief and food access or the myriad of other things that you can learn on our farms is what brings them here.  Their time spent with us gives the team a good snapshot of what it takes to engage over 10,000 volunteers and grow almost a million servings of fresh produce for donation throughout our community.  

In just over the two full weeks that they have been with us we think they have already experienced quite a contrast of activity.  From temperatures in the 40’s just a week ago to the 90+ degree weather that we have experienced recently they have seen the challenges that Mother Nature brings to farming.  Add in the record breaking rains and flooding and our subsequent concern about the health of the plants trying to survive in low temperatures and saturated soil and they really have been through the gauntlet.  Their first days were spent trying to understand how we engage a group of 125 elementary school students all at one time and then spend the afternoon with a group of adults from a local business.  They have seen the full gamut of greenhouse operations, met all of the critters that visit the farm and seen how some of them can do great damage to our crops.  They were instrumental in setting up our irrigation system to prepare for July and August and helped to protect our blueberry field with netting to keep the birds at bay.  In the past week they have become familiar with the June doldrums of “tending the plants” in friendly farm terms, most of you would recognize that as weeding.  While this is not the favorite of tasks it is a necessity as weeds rob water and resources from our developing plants at this stage.  Just yesterday they began their off site visits with a stop at the Worcester County Food Bank, all in an effort to give them a well rounded snapshot of the hunger relief network that we support.  In retrospect it really has been a fast and furious two weeks on the farm.  

If you are visiting please join us in welcoming David (Holy Cross), Liz (Clark University), Charlie (University of Rochester), Olivia (Worcester Academy), Nathan (Kansas State University), Fatima (Holy Cross), Becca (Unity College), Kelsey (Holy Cross), Savannah (Clark University) and Maddy (Suffolk University) to our farms.  We are delighted to have them join us for what we are sure will be an amazing learning experience for them as well as us.  Your help in making them feel at home here as part of the Community Harvest Family would be greatly appreciated.  

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Local Schools Support CHP

Sprout Schools PhotoCommunity Harvest Project is exceptionally grateful to hundreds of students from four of our incredible school partners: Mill Pond Middle School, North Street Elementary School, St. Marks School, and Goddard Scholars Academy at Sullivan Middle. These schools have each visited our farms countless times and donated over 3,500 hours of service at our farms. This month, these students went above and beyond by coordinating and participating in some great fundraising for CHP’s mission!

Mill Pond School held a student Read-A-Thon for 6th graders as an educational fundraising program. Students were sponsored by family and friends to achieve their reading goals and rewarded by their sponsors with a donation to the chosen non-profit. CHP is proud to be part of their learning and honored to once again be the recipients of a donation for their hard work. We were also privileged to be round table representatives at your Model U.N. Summit and learned so much!

North Street Elementary School and Goddard Scholars Academy at Sullivan Middle both raised money for CHP though our Dimes for Dinners program this month. St. Mark’s School has been volunteering in our fields this season and wanted to participate in our Adopt-A-Row and Adopt-A-Tree programs. They generously adopted a row of broccoli and are excited to watch it grow this season!

Together, students from these schools showed that every dime counts and cumulatively donated $7,200 to Community Harvest Project. We are so humbled by the enthusiasm of students who visit our farms and thankful for their generosity and spirit. Thank you all!

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Kids Cooking Classes Coming Soon

_MG_2459.jpgDo you have a child who loves hanging out in the garden and the kitchen? We have two great opportunities for them this summer! On July 25th and August 8th from 2:30-4pm we will be hosting cooking classes for 4th to 7th graders. The exact recipes we will make will depend on what is ripe in the garden at that time. We will learn how to tell when different vegetables are ripe, taste through what is ripe, and then cook together!

_MG_2526.jpgThe more interaction kids have with vegetables, the more likely they are to eat them so we will engage all the senses in our lesson. We will look at everything in the garden and see the different growth stages of vegetables. We will compare and contrast different varieties of produce, like the six varieties of tomatoes, three varieties of carrots, and all the different herbs we are growing. Then we will work our way towards the kitchen by harvesting produce for our different recipes. Each child will participate in the cooking process (after we go over knife and kitchen safety, of course).

Sign up your child for either or both cooking classes here. If you have any additional questions please email tori@community-harvest.org.

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