As 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.