Looking Back on the Season

The 2018 season is winding down, and our team has had a lot to reflect on. Here are some end-of-season thoughts from our Volunteer Farming team:

Dave Johnson, Farm Manager:
As farmers we are uniquely fortunate to experience the nuances of day to day change throughout our New England seasons.  We strive to align ourselves and our work with the rhythm of this cycle on a daily basis.  With leaves beginning to turn and autumn’s characteristic crispness on the air, we are reminded that when we walk in step with our natural surroundings, many things are above our control.  We’re gifted the opportunity to work alongside the plants, soil, critters (the helpful and the less-helpful), and even the weather to grow delicious, nutritious, and beautiful fruits and vegetables for neighbors in our community to enjoy and give to their families.  Here at the farm, this season has brought thousands of individuals and groups together to work and have fun in service to a mission bigger than any of us alone.  The 2018 growing season has presented us with a good number of challenges, but we’ve enjoyed our successes too.  Some of our all-stars this year include peppers, eggplant, butternut squash, and the seemingly never-ending green beans!
As we embark on the process of planning and looking toward the coming year it is both humbling and exciting to apply the lessons that the farm continues to teach.  There is an abundance of potential living in the soil we till, the seeds we plant, and the countless community members who give of their time and effort.  We continue to do our very best to realize and cultivate that potential and treat each new season as a gift.
Susan Conant, Orchard Manager:

Over the past two months, we have been very busy at Prospect Hill Farm harvesting and packing apples and are looking forward to some quieter days ahead.  This growing season was not without its challenges, but a growing season on a farm rarely is.  The unseasonably warm temperatures in August and September combined with the very wet weather had an impact on the already medium to light apple crop.  We have had some wonderfully resilient volunteers this harvest season picking in all kinds of conditions from near 100 degree heat to heavy cold rain.  Thank you to all the volunteers that made this season a success!  Despite the weather obstacles, we are on track to donate over 100,000 pounds of apples to local hunger relief organizations this year.

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Volunteers of the Month: Dell EMC

VolunteerGroup.Dell.2017 (17).JPGThis month we would like to applaud a very large and mighty volunteer group that offers unique support to Community Harvest Project year in and year out .  Our friends at Dell EMC continue to connect with our work in large numbers and over the last couple of years they have volunteered at such a rate that they account for almost a quarter of our total volunteer count.  Year after year Dell EMC group coordinators do the work of organizing teams to come out and help with our hunger relief efforts. Because of this effort this year brings to a total of over 10,000 volunteer visits to our Grafton and Harvard since they began visiting.  

Our Dell EMC volunteers also find creative ways to help us drive our mission with interesting events such as holiday luncheons or an inside mini golf tournament at headquarters with proceeds being donated to support our work.  They recognize the great need in our community to provide healthy produce to those seeking hunger relief services. It is fitting that this level of support comes to us via Hopkinton as that is where our little project started with the Abbotts original Elmwood Farm.  We like to think that they would be proud to see the amount of support sprouting out from Dell EMC just down the road from their farm.

We would like to thank the entire Dell EMC Team for their incredible support in 2018 and look forward to seeing them back on our farms next year.  We could not do this work without their help and are humbled that they continue to choose to work with Community Harvest Project.

 

One Step Further Campaign

YE IconsThanks to the hard work of our volunteers, over 60,000 food insecure community members received fresh, nutritious produce this summer. We were recently reminded of their impact by one our hunger relief partners, Community Servings. After receiving fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and squash, Kevin Conner, Director of Food Services, remarked:

 “Our partnership with Community Harvest Project enriches our meals with top-quality local produce. Community Servings’ culinary and nutrition teams use the fresh, local produce to carefully construct 15 different diets to accommodate the nutritional and medical needs of our clients suffering from a variety of critical and chronic illnesses.”

Everyday your work helped food insecure individuals live healthy lives. Hunger is an ongoing issue that does not end just because the summer does, which is why our work never stops and we continue to take steps to ensure that every neighbor has access to the food they need. Nevertheless, we can’t do it without your help.

That is why today, we are embarking on our One Step Further Campaign. Our goal is raise $50,000 by December 31. We know you are as passionate about hunger relief we are and we hope you be willing to take your passion one step further to make a donation to feed more individuals and families in need.

We are beyond excited to share that your donation today will have double the impact, thanks to a generous match! Major General (US Army, Retired) Robert and Karen Catalanotti, Assumption College Trustee and Community Harvest Project Team Leader, respectively, is proud and honored to support our hunger relief efforts this year. The first donations up to $10,000 will be matched dollar by dollar, to make their impact go even further.

Please join us today by making a donation! Your support will make a real, lasting impact in the lives of food insecure community members.

Thank you!

Now Hiring: 2019 Farm Coordinator

We are currently seeking a Farm Coordinator to work under the direction of our Farm Manager at our North Grafton site for 2019. This location farms 12-15 acres of vegetables per year; other small crops include blueberries and flowers. Volunteers work alongside the farm team daily from March to October, and all produce from this location is donated.

The right candidate will have at least two years of experience in agricultural work, will be self-motivated, have a friendly personality, and enjoy working with individuals of all ages and abilities. See below for more qualifications.

Interested applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and 2-3 references to Farm Manager Dave Johnson at dave@community-harvest.org.

Duties and responsibilities

  • Volunteers – assist Farm Manager with:
    • Assigning duties to all volunteer groups and overseeing their proper completion
    • Overseeing all volunteer supplies and other needs to ensure proper volunteer support
    • Managing the volunteer Team Leaders while on active duty
    • Ensuring a positive volunteer experience through all of the above
  • Planning – assist Farm Manager with:
    • Yearly crop plan
    • Yearly variety plan and seed order
    • Yearly planning of acreage rotation
    • Yearly planning of equipment needs
    • Yearly pest and weed management plan
  • Operations – assist Farm Manager with:
    • Executing daily agricultural duties
    • Executing daily produce distributions
    • Monitoring of equipment and recommending related repairs/replacements
    • Monitoring of safety plan and ensuring its execution
    • Execution of skilled/restricted farm activities
    • Execution of administrative work (records, etc)
  • Oversight of property maintenance in conjunction with the Farm Manager

Qualifications

  • 2+ years of agriculture experience
  • Experience with tractor work
  • Experience with equipment maintenance
  • Experience with volunteers, nonprofit work, and/or interns is highly desired
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Excellent problem solving skills and a ‘can do’ attitude
  • Ability to work in all weather
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds
  • Ability to spend long periods standing

Position Logistics & Benefits

  • This is a full-time, year round position.
  • Compensation: dependent on experience
  • Time Off: 20 days of paid time off / 5 days of paid sick time / paid holidays (after a 90 day probationary period, with the expectation that the majority of PTO will be used outside of October – April
  • Employer-sponsored health insurance with 50% of coverage paid by CHP
  • Employer-sponsored 401k plan (no match)