A Big Thank You to the Worcester Fire Department!

Firefighters.pngCommunity Harvest Project is honored to be a major recipient of race proceeds from the 2017 WFD6K Road Race. For seven years, the Worcester Fire Department has identified CHP as a partner organization and has cumulatively donated over $40,000 to support our mission! We are incredibly grateful and humbled to continue to be part of this great event. Thank you for your support and for all that you do for the Worcester community.

The WFD6K Road Race has been held for 17 years, started after the devastating loss of six firefighters in the Worcester Cold Storage Fire back on December 3, 1999. To honor these individuals, the Worcester Firefighters hold a 6K Road Race with proceeds going directly back to community organizations including NEADS, Genesis Club, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Community Harvest Project. Since inception, the WFD6K has donated over $550,000 to community organizations.

Thank you, Worcester Firefighters!

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Donate Today to Support the Harvest!

Tomato HarvestYou know firsthand the importance of our work. You are as passionate about our work as we are! Our farms are where our values come to life, and together we are improving access to healthy fruits and vegetables for those who need it most. Thanks to your dedication and support we owe much of our success to you.

Our harvest is just getting started and already this season, your generosity has helped us:

  • Donate over 55,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to the local hunger relief network
  • Create a vibrant community gathering place where over 6,000 volunteers have engaged in the joyful spirit of volunteerism
  • Provide a safe and active learning environment for nearly 1,500 of your children and grandchildren to learn the importance of farming and nutrition through the hands-on experiences

VeggiesWe are thriving because of you! Your continued support keeps these activities going, and allows us to continue growing food, community, and minds. Please donate today so we can continue to plant seeds for tomorrow. Thank you in advance for your generosity. We hope to see you at one of our farms soon!

 

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Celebrating Ten Years of Volunteering with Community Harvest Project

IMG_2404At the beginning of August we had the great pleasure of hosting the CSAW Team from St. Brigid Parish in Millbury.  This lively group of youth volunteers spent two days at the farm weeding countless rows of vegetables (10,800 feet to be exact) and harvesting over 2,698 lbs. or 13,673 servings of fresh produce for donation to hunger relief agencies throughout Central and Eastern Massachusetts.  They challenged themselves to stay focused even in some pretty punishing humidity and blaring sun.  The energy and humor that they brought to the job made our days fly by, this team had the “it” factor and understood that the hard work that they were doing was all about helping community.  

This years team is following in the footsteps of giants as this visit marks ten consecutive years of involvement from the CSAW Youth Program.  Under the watchful eye of Greg Bernard and his team of adult mentors this week long summer service program goes out into the community to help their neighbors.  This year at the farm they were led in their work by one of their own who is now a CHP Team Leader, Katie O’Leary.  With a mission and work that directly aligns with ours this program is ensuring that their participants learn just how easy and rewarding it is to help others.  We feel very fortunate that they have selected us as part of their annual rounds.
We would like to honor the CSAW Youth Program as our Volunteer Team of the Month in August.  Their ten years of service to Community Harvest Project is greatly appreciated and we invite them to come back to the farm for at least another ten years!  

Keep up the great work CSAW, we appreciate being part of your team.  
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Team Lead at Prospect Hill Orchard

ApplesWe will be hosting a training at our orchard in Harvard (115 Prospect Hill Road, Harvard) on August 29th from 9:00 AM to Noon.  We are looking to engage volunteers to assist us in leading the volunteer groups that will be visiting the farm from September 1st to October 15th.  Team Leading is an extremely rewarding hands-on experience that involves guiding diverse groups of volunteers in completing various farm activities.  Volunteer Team Leaders are the backbone of Community Harvest Project’s success story.  Our Team Leaders work with CHP Field Staff and Interns to represent the organization and ensure a positive experience for the over 10,000 volunteers that work with us annually. At the Harvard orchard we need Team Leaders to help coordinate and direct the work of small groups of volunteers in picking, sorting and packaging apples for donation to hunger relief organizations throughout Central and Eastern Massachusetts.

Apple harvest will take place from September 1st through October 15th from 9:00 AM to Noon several days a week, just six short weeks of commitment for a great cause. Join in and help out one day a week or as many as you are able to and we can assure you that you will get more from the experience than you will give. This is a great volunteer opportunity for retirees, at home parents or anyone looking to fill a morning with volunteering to help our community. Anyone interested in joining in we would ask that you visit our North Grafton Farm one time in August to see Team Leaders in action and come to the training in Harvard on August 29th from 9:00 AM to Noon.

Anyone that is interested in helping out can also reach out to us via volunteer@community-harvest.org or call (774)551-6544 for more information

orchardVolunteer Team Leaders are the key to our successful volunteer farming program. Their dedicated time and expertise allow CHP to host the volunteers necessary to farm fresh fruits and vegetables for donation. While staff work diligently to support operations and groups, Team Leaders spend the most face time with a volunteer groups and provide the experience that motivates a volunteer to return as a drop in, bring another group, participate in one of our events, or donate to support our mission. We could not do this work without them.

Here are some quotes from our existing Team Leaders on why they lead;

  • There are three parts to my answer: being a member of an extraordinary team!!, contributing to CHP’s goal of growing/harvesting fruits and vegetables for the hungry, and simply working outdoors with individuals of all ages!!
  • Interaction with the volunteers, understanding why they volunteer. Each has a story to tell.
  • The ability to give to the community in a meaningful way. Specifically in that the efforts of the CHP promotes good healthy options for a population with limited access to healthy foods given their circumstance and the current food supply system in the US. Additionally, meeting all the people encountered during the volunteer experience such as CHP staff, other Team Leaders and volunteer groups is a constant draw to participation. They are all fabulous, interesting and constantly restores one’s faith in the goodness of humanity. Working in the outdoors is the icing on the cake.
  • It is hard to pick just one favorite part of team leading! But if I had to, it is definitely the people at CHP, volunteers and staff. It is an uplifting and inspirational place and I just love spending time working alongside others who care about others in our community.
  • Getting to meet so many interesting, kind people!
  • Getting exposed to diversity with leading different groups and experiencing the passion/excitement that emerges for the cause!

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What’s Cookin’ at CHP

kids cooking 1.PNGHow can you tell when a carrot is ready to pick? Are all carrots orange? How can you tell a plant is in the mint family? What part of the plant is the broccoli head we eat? We addressed all these questions in our kids Garden to Kitchen Cooking Classes earlier this summer. Each class started in the garden where we explored or did a scavenger hunt. Then the kids were split up into smaller groups and given recipes to read over so they could find the ingredients that they needed to harvest from the garden.

Everything we grow in the garden is selected so it can be picked by many little hands. The kids harvested beets, carrots, collards, cucumbers, dill, parsley, basil, chard, kale, wax and green beans, and tomatoes.

kids cooking 2Our first class focused on carrots and beets. One group made carrot pancakes with whole wheat flour and then a carrot ribbon salad with carrot top pesto. They used a peeler to make long thin strips of the carrots, which are a much easier way to prep carrots if you have small hands and a small knife. The other group made whole wheat chocolate beet muffins, plus a beet and apple salad.

Our second class continued our healthy breakfast and salad theme. There were three groups and they made baked oatmeal with blackberries, mini frittatas with garden herbs, and mini muffins with blueberries. While those were all in the over they made salads featuring cucumbers, kale, chard, carrots, and snap peas with homemade dressings: ranch, sesame, and balsamic.

kids cooking 3If your child missed out on these classes they could still join in the fall! We’re offering one class on October 16th, from 2:30-4PM, for kids in 4th-7th grade. The class is open to kids from all towns and will take place at 37 Wheeler Road in Grafton. Cost is $20/child, and all proceeds support CHP’s efforts to provide fresh produce for those experiencing hunger. Space is limited, so sign up today!

This is one of the most popular recipes that kids have loved again and again. It is easily adapted with whatever leftover cooked vegetables you have, and makes kid-sized portions.

Mini Frittatas

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen. Makes 24 mini muffin frittatas, or 12 muffin frittatas.

  • 9 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. sea salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 2.5 cups of cooked filling, such as peppers, onions, potatoes, tomatoes (sundried or fresh), broccoli, asparagus, chopped small, cooked pasta or rice, beans
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped herbs, such as chives, parlsey, thyme or mix of these (plus more for topping)
  • 8 oz. cheese

Preheat the oven to 350′. Grease a standard muffin tin or mini muffin tin.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cheese, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper until well blended. Then add in any vegetables, grains, or beans being used for the filling and stir to combine.

Fill the muffin tins a generous 3/4 of the way full. Bake on the middle rack for 12-15 minutes for mini-muffins, or 18-20 minutes for regular muffins.

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