Volunteers of the Month: Access TCA

DSC_0066We have been very fortunate over the past three years to host the Access TCA Volunteer Day here at Community Harvest Project. They are a large exhibit and event marketing company based right here in the Blackstone Valley in Whitinsville.  This team of volunteers always comes out with great spirit and energy to help their community.  Their creative approach and considerable amount of effort in planning for the day and even doing advance work to prepare is greatly appreciated.  This year they were able to help us with a list of projects around the farm that we would not otherwise be able to complete.  

They spent their day on the farm  trellising cucumbers, replanting eggplant that was washed out by flooding, twining tomatoes, weeding, and cleaning out the small greenhouse.  Because of them the thousands of volunteers that visit our North Grafton farms will have access to a picnic grove of new and newly repaired and painted tables.  They also helped us with some major repairs on the barn deck, making it safer for all of our visitors.  Their gift and talent of the addition of passive education signs will come to life around the farm in the coming months. This project would not have been possible without their expertise and the design execution of Eric Anderson.  In visiting the barn you may notice that we have new graphics in the back of the great room and on the hallway walls.  With innovative techniques they were able to print life size photos on plastic and fabric to help us provide a very inviting environment for our guests.    

We would like to applaud and thank Access TCA for their amazing gift of time, resources and volunteer labor.  Their efforts to make us shine are greatly appreciated.  This team was able to not only help us farm for the day but also used their talents to advance our mission by donating services that we would not be able to fit into our budget.  A special thanks goes out to Jamie Levine for her coordination of these efforts, Dean Cerrati and Jess Thibault for making the day go smoothly, Phil Oikle and his band of magicians for their amazing craftsmanship and the rest of the Access TCA Team for their support and energy during their visit to our farm.  We really appreciate your support of our efforts and of our community.      

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Apply to Join Our Board of Directors

Here at Community Harvest Project, we know it takes a diverse group of people to make our work possible – just look at thousands of volunteers who visit us each year! And there’s one group of volunteers in particular that ensure the success and progress of our organization: our Board of Directors.

We are currently seeking candidates to fill a small number of vacancies on our Board.  This is a great opportunity to be part of an inspirational organization, working with a dedicated board and staff to provide nutritious food to those in need.

Although we will consider all who are interested for this or other volunteer roles within the organization, please note that we’re particularly looking for those with one or more of the following:

  • Urban food system experience.
  • Experience in the field of education.
  • Knowledge of agricultural practices.
  • Contacts in north Worcester County who may be helpful to CHP, particularly in and around the town of Harvard.
  • Prior experience on nonprofit boards.

In addition, we are seeking to be an organization that reflects the diversity of our community. If interested, please email your resume and a letter detailing your connection to Community Harvest Project and our mission, and what skills you would bring to the Board. All applications and/or questions can be emailed to execdir@community-harvest.org and will be reviewed as they are received. 

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Harvest Home 2017

Harvest Home I.jpgIt may be the heat of summer, but CHP is already gearing up for our Harvest Home Festival and 5K events on Sunday, November 5th, 2017. This day of family fun begins with a 5K trail race and 1 mile walk on the beautiful Grafton Land Trust trails and is followed by our Harvest Home Festival at our farm across the street. The day is filled with fun activities and brings the community together at our farm to celebrate the harvest, increase awareness of our work, and raise funds to support our mission.

5K registration is now open! For a limited time, you can register for our 5K fundraiser for only $25! Registration moves to $30 on September 1st, so reserve your spot today. Day-of registration and check-in begins at 9am and the race kicks off at 10:30am at 40 N Brigham Hill Rd, Grafton, MA.

harvest Home IIAfter the 5K trail race, make sure to join us at the Harvest Home Festival (11am – 3pm) for a day of family fun. Shoot apples over 500 feet out of our pressurized cannons and watch a trebuchet competition hurl pumpkins over 400 feet down our fields. There will be plenty of live music, craft beer, local food trucks, homemade desserts, kids crafts and bounce houses! New this year in our Picnic Grove will be an open campfire with hay bales for relaxing and s’mores available for roasting. We hope to see you there!

Sponsorships opportunities are now open for this year’s Harvest Home Festival & 5K event. Event sponsorship is the perfect opportunity for you to increase awareness of your business’ support of a great cause! Please contact claudia@community-harvest.org for more information about these opportunities.

Thank you for your support!

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Make a Difference as a Monthly Giver

peachEven a little means a lot.  It only takes a small commitment from each of us to make a big difference on our farms for the year.  Becoming a Monthly Giver is a great way to provide support for the programs and experiences that make CHP great. I had the awesome opportunity to speak with several of our Monthly Givers and each of them share several common motivations:

They give because:

  • THEY LOVE Community Harvest Project,  LOVE our mission,  LOVE  the organization.
  • THEY LOVE giving back and know firsthand the impact that we are making together in the community.
  • They fully appreciate how helpful it is for the farm to have a steady stream of donations and that we can budget knowing that they have our back during our leaner months.
  • Giving a little bit each month is more comfortable than one larger sum at once.
  • Have pride in seeing their name in our Annual Report every year.
  • It is easy to sign up online and it saves paper, postage and time.

This fall we will be relaunching the Monthly Giving Program and will  invite you to join the increasing number of Monthly Givers who have chosen to make such a wonderful impact and help sustain our farms.  We are excited to introduce some new fun and exclusive benefits for Monthly Givers and cannot wait to share them with you!  We look forward to creating a healthy and engaged community with you.   

In the meantime if you would like to become a Monthly Giver, we encourage you to go online to our website and go to “Donate” and choose “monthly” as the frequency.  We truly appreciate your support.  Feel free to give me a buzz or drop me a note about how we can continue to improve this program.  I’d love to hear from you!

-Carolyn Ambrose, Development Manager


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The 2017 Season So Far

Now that we’re well in to July, our season is truly in full swing. Our team has plenty of updates to share; read on to learn about our summer so far!

The Grafton Farm
BeetsThings on the Grafton farm are going well, despite the cold, wet, and slow start to the season. After our broccoli and cabbage suffered through standing water and chilly temperatures, we have been surprised by a healthy and large harvest in both of those crops. The blueberries are steadily coming out of the field as a sweet treat to our recipients, and the summer squash and zucchini are strong contenders as always. Our heat loving crops are finally getting the temperatures they love, so hopefully the tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers will start producing soon. We have been using our cultivation tractors to keep up with the weed pressure between the crop rows, and the fields have never looked so clean. Come drop by to see the difference!
– Annie Stegink, Farm Coordinator

The Harvard Orchard
We have been busy this summer at Prospect Hill Orchard caring for the newly planted apple and peach trees and finishing construction on our high density apple orchard. We won’t have any fruit from the young apple trees until next year but they require much care in the establishment years. Fertilization, trellising, painting, pest, weed and water management are some of the tasks we do to ensure they have a healthy foundation and can support their first crop of apples next year. The apples on our established trees have been growing rapidly this summer with warm days and a sufficient supply of water, which we did not have last year. It appears we will have a decent crop and will begin harvesting the first apples at the end of August.
– Susan Conant, Orchard Manager

Our Summer Interns
InternsWe are more than halfway through our Summer Sustainable Internship Program and when they are not out working with volunteers or doing farm tasks like weeding they have had plenty of extracurricular activities to round out the summer.  They are regularly meeting with staff members to learn about each individual role within our organization, participating in healthy eating modules and learning to prepare healthy snacks.  Several of them expressed an interest in learning more about funding which has led to the entire group learning how to write a grant request as a project under Cordie’s direction.  They have visited the Worcester County Food Bank for a tour and more in depth understanding of the hunger relief network.  They are working on a special project to research the best method that we should implement for composting on the farm.  They visited the Clark University Freight Farm to learn about growing hydroponically and visited Compare Grocery to get an understanding of produce needs in a diverse community.  They have also spent time working with the YouthGrow Team from the Regional Environmental Council on their urban farm and will reciprocate by teaching their team all about CHP when they visit our farm.  With several more weeks and quite a few more visits planned this team is surely getting a full view of all of the issues involved in supporting hunger relief efforts in our community.
– Wayne McAuliffe, Volunteer Manager 

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