Thank You, Claudia!

_MG_7543.jpgThis month we saying goodbye to our Development & Events Coordinator, Claudia Frazer. After several years at CHP, Claudia is moving on to a new role. We will miss her smiling, happy face on the farm, but we are thrilled that she is taking on a new adventure.

From the day Claudia walked onto this farm as an Intern from Clark University, she knew that Community Harvest Project was where she wanted to be!  Claudia embraced the mission of CHP from that moment onward.  She was so passionate about our work that she stayed on as a VISTA and then went on to join the Development Team as the Development & Events Coordinator, a role in which she has excelled. She is an extremely hard working, persistent, and smart individual who when challenged with a task, always outperforms.  It was evident in her ability to make Plantapalooza and Harvest Home Festival our most profitable fundraisers events yet!  She took pride in these successes and the incredible commitment from our community who believe in our work just as much as she does.   

Best of luck, Claudia!  

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Think Spring! Book Your Volunteer Group Now

St. Marks Sprout PicWe all know that Community Harvest Project is a really special place and great asset within our community.  Over the years as we have grown the demand for volunteer time has kept pace and we recognize the fact that we really are a popular and well respected destination for volunteers to help our community.  There is something about spending time on one of our farms that really keeps people smiling.  We are not sure if that energy comes out of the earth or if it is related to the fact that people coming together towards a common goal just feels good.  As one of our great founding fathers George Washington said “Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man.”  We may be biased but we really think that his words continue to define agriculture as one of the greatest activities on earth.  Add in the fact that our mission engages community in helping those around us that are less fortunate have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and the picture really comes together.

There is nothing better at this time of year than to begin thinking about the coming season and knowing that spring is just within our reach.  We likely have been through the coldest, snowiest days and as the days begin to lengthen we find ourselves thinking about spending more time outdoors.  Before you know it we will be planting the first of our seeds in the greenhouse and we will slowly bring the farms back to life.  We have spent the last couple of months planning and gearing up for another growing season.  This is where you come in, it’s time to begin planning your groups volunteer visit to the farm.  Just like every year we are counting on our committed volunteer groups to help us grow each and every piece of produce as we could not do this work without your support.  With increasing demand the earlier you plan and put your request in the more likely it is that we will be able to get you on to our schedule.  We have some exciting new approaches for our 2018 season designed to better support our partner organizations who rely on the bounty of our farms so come out and join the fun.  

To request a volunteer visit date for our 2018 season please click here.    

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Joining a Legacy of Service

KristinaSproutPicLast month we featured some of our longest serving Volunteer Team Leaders with a combined 43 years of service.  As with all of our Team Leaders Bob Dascanio and Laura and Jim Coughlin have inspired thousands of volunteers over the years while leading groups at our farms.  This type of engagement is what makes this a very special place, if you have visited any of our farms you know just how important our Volunteer Team Leaders are to our operation.  The stories of how our Team Leaders arrive here and stay connected continue to inspire and attract a new crop of volunteers each year.  This is what has allowed us to continue to grow and provide an exceptional volunteer experience for all of our volunteers year in and year out.   

This month we would like to feature some of our newest and youngest Volunteer Team Leaders.  They all have one thing in common as they joined the team and began filling the role of Volunteer Team Leader during our 2017 farming season.  It’s good to know that the legacy that Bill and Rose Abbott put in place back in the 1970’s is still inspiring today’s youth to get involved and help others in the community.  Read on to learn more about this amazing group of new Volunteer Team Leaders and how they connect with the mission.  

Kristina Weldon started working with us in June as a friend had told her about his experience at CHP and suggested she get involved as a way to put herself into a position to develop leadership skills.  The role did just that as she really enjoys the fact that she gets to work with volunteers of all ages and backgrounds.  She chose CHP because of the type of work that we do and the fact that our produce is donated to help others.  One of the added bonuses for her is that she “loves getting up early and being productive while helping others.”  Her favorite memory from this summer was working with a group that was visiting from Venezuela.  She initially had a difficult time getting them to understand her direction, but with a quick switch to Spanish she was able to communicate and help them understand.  

Alex Valoras first volunteered at CHP in 4th grade which she remembers as an absolute blast.  Fast forward and this past summer she decided to begin volunteering and became a Volunteer Team Leader.  To hear her tell the story her decision was based on the fact that she wasn’t doing anything valuable at home and the farm provided a convenient, local and awesome opportunity to volunteer.  She is incredibly passionate about what we do. Growing food locally, increasing access for those in need to eat healthier and growing the vegetables as naturally as possible are all things that she appreciates. She said “I also loves the community that is fostered at CHP, as the team leaders I work with and volunteers that I lead are all so kind and genuinely care about being here.”  She also likes the diversity of volunteer groups and the fact that you are always working with someone new on the farm which enhances the ability to learn quite a bit.  Her favorite memory from this past summer was on her first visit of the season.  She was picking blueberries and it began to rain.  It began to thunder and the group made their way to the barn but not before being caught in a soaking downpour.  It was an excellent bonding experience and according to her “an awesome first impression.”

Celine Bui first volunteered as a way to fulfill a requirement of service hours for her school.  She chose CHP because she was touched and inspired by the CHP’s mission statement and the staff’s drive to help the community. “I learned so much more than I anticipated and wanted to join the movement.”  What she enjoyed most as a Volunteer Team Leader was having the opportunity to meet new people. So many different groups, not just locally but also nationally, come to the farm with the intention of giving back to the community. Getting to know their story and their motivation to help CHP is what made her experience memorable.  Her favorite memory from this summer was leading a group from Ohio who traveled to Massachusetts just to volunteer at CHP as part of the Young Neighbors Program.  She worked with them for a few days and instantly clicked. They made little tasks such as removing suckers from tomato plants a lot of fun.  She reports that she “created memories at CHP that I will never forget.”  

Keehn Waterfall first visited the farm as an 11 year old as part of a home-school group that volunteered here regularly.  He remembers having a great time with a group of his friends.  He landed here because his mom always looks for cool places to bring him and his younger sister and she found CHP.  In the Volunteer Team Leader role he enjoys the challenge of being friendly and the leader of a group.  He reports that there is a lot to do and keep track of. You have to balance being a leader and working side by side with the volunteers.  Some of the best parts of leading is the rewarding nature of the work and the challenge to learn and get better every visit.  Keehn’s favorite memory from this summer was leading a group of volunteers from our partner organization Community Servings.  He reports that the group was “cool, with awesome attitudes towards life.  They had great stories to tell and had fun while working in the field together.”   

This amazing group of our newest Team Leaders have hit many of the high notes about this really special role of Volunteer Team Leader.  They illustrate the fact that quite often our volunteers report that they get more than they give when volunteering at Community Harvest Project.  Thanks to Kristina, Alex, Celine and Keehn for joining our team in 2017 and for sharing a little bit about why they volunteer with Community Harvest Project.   

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