A New Volunteer Opportunity with CHP!

volunteer photoHave you or someone you know always wanted to volunteer with CHP?  Do you have skills that are not quite a good fit for our Volunteer Farming Program?  We have a new way to get involved that might just be right up your alley. We are assembling a group of specialized volunteers that would be willing to support our farm team in the more complex challenges of the farm.  This team will operate from February through November on Tuesday mornings to help us drive our mission further, operate our farms more smoothly and support our farm staff throughout the year. Support needs will include pruning of hedge rows and fruit bushes, brush clearing, basic carpentry, property improvements and both pre and post season field preparations.  This team will work together to complete projects and help us to clear up a backlog of outstanding needs.

If you’re a recent retiree looking to put your hands to work for a good cause, or someone looking to get outside in the natural environment a few hours a week working with like minded folk towards a goal, this could be your calling.  We will work throughout the seasons and sometimes in adverse weather conditions (this is New England after all). We practice safe work standards on all of our properties so a little equipment knowledge would be helpful but we are willing to teach new skills.  This volunteer role could involve utilizing analog hand tools, power tools, chainsaws, mowers and weed whackers.
If you are interested in learning more we will have a brief informational session on Tuesday, March 5th here at 37 Wheeler Road, North Grafton.  For more information feel free to call (774)551-6544 or email our volunteer team at volunteer@community-harvest.org.   

Looking Forward to Spring on the Farm

IMG_5738And just like that, seasons begin to change.  While several more weeks of winter are undoubtedly before us, here at the Brigham Hill Community Farm the seasonal shift has already begun.  It feels like just yesterday we were cleaning up supplies, winterizing equipment, and hunkering down for cold weather; now we’re dusting those supplies off and taking stock of what we need for a rocking year of veggie-growing!  It’s true, our first seeds of the 2019 season will be planted in just 2 weeks’ time.  And while those tiny seedlings will need several weeks yet of care and warmth, we will see the makings of a vibrant community farm begin to take shape before long.

This coming year we plan to build on successes of previous seasons.  Focusing on the vegetable varieties which prove to be staples for the families that we serve helps to maximize the impact of these foods in our community.  Where appropriate, we’ll be trying out some new methods and varieties here and there to ensure that we’re always improving and getting better at meeting our mission.  We’re particularly excited to include kale along with increased crops of fresh lettuce, roots, and leeks into our crop plan this year.

51851201_360127377906173_1364363083891343360_nAnother great addition to the 2019 season is the arrival of our new farm coordinator, Amanda Carrier.  Having contributed a great deal to our farm team in 2018 as a seasonal farm assistant, Amanda brings a background in environmental science and community agriculture.  Amanda has worked in a number of agricultural capacities across New England.  She served most recently as the Garden Program Manager at Worcester State University as both farmer and educator, working closely alongside volunteers and students, cultivating a love for sustainable food gardening.  We pretty stoked to have Amanda as a full-time part of our farm team this season and we’re convinced that you will be too.

Here’s to a season of full harvest baskets and full bellies!

Welcoming New Board Member Bob Paulsen

Robert Paulsen 2018 (1)Robert Paulsen, SVP, Senior Loan Officer at UniBank, has recently joined Community Harvest Project’s Board of Directors as Treasurer. Paulsen has a strong financial background from working over thirty-two years in finance and operations at several organizations including Middlesex Savings Bank, Country Bank, TD BankNorth among others. CHP is excited to welcome him aboard not only for his financial expertise but also his extensive nonprofit experience and involvement in many Worcester area organizations including: the Chamber of Commerce, Alternatives, Inc., Mohegan Boy Scouts, The Seven Hills Foundation, the Worcester Historical Museum, the Worcester Economic Club, and many other local civic organizations.

Paulsen brings strong leadership skills and enjoys the challenge of working in a creative team environment.  “I look forward to joining the Board of the Community Harvard Project. I have the utmost respect for what this organization does in the community: providing good produce to the local food banks and growing much of the food using volunteers. My own experience volunteering at the farm in Grafton, as a team building exercise with fellow employees at UniBank, really gave me a greater appreciation of what is done at the farm on a daily basis, which I thought was pretty amazing.” Paulsen lives with his family in Rutland, MA.

What’s Cooking: Crispy Chickpeas

cooking classesOur first classes of the year were all about easy and satiating snacks. We made these crunchy chickpeas, which can be easily customized with your favorite spice blend. Let us know what flavor you make!

Our March classes are finally tackling a much requested topic: TACOS! Our Broccoli Head Chefs will be making every part of the taco: tortillas, filling, and salsa. Celery Sous Chefs will be starting with the basics and just making filling and salsa.

Broccoli Head Chefs (9-12 year olds)

$40/child

Taco Time – Tuesday, March 12th, 2019, 4-6pm

Celery Sous Chefs (5-8 year olds)

$20/child

Taco Time – Monday, March 25th, 2019, 4-5pm

Taco Time – Thursday, March 28th, 2019, 4:30-5:30pm

Crispy Chickpeas

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons spices or finely chopped herbs, such as chili powder, curry powder, cumin, smoked paprika, rosemary, thyme, etc (see options below)

Ranch Spice:

  • ½ teaspoon dill
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • A few grinds of black pepper

Taco Spice:

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F.
  2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Open the cans of chickpeas and pour the chickpeas into a strainer in the sink. Rinse thoroughly under running water.
  3. Dry the chickpeas. Pat the chickpeas very dry with a clean dishtowel or paper towels. They should look matte and feel dry to the touch; if you have time, leave them to air-dry for a few minutes. Remove any chickpea skins that come off while drying, but otherwise don’t worry about them.
  4. Toss the chickpeas with olive oil, salt, and your chosen spices. Spread the chickpeas out in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the chickpeas for 20 to 30 minutes. A few chickpeas may pop – that’s normal. The chickpeas are done when golden and slightly darkened, dry and crispy on the outside, and soft in the middle. For extra crispy chickpeas: turn the oven off when they are done but leave the chickpeas in the oven as it cools.

 

2019 Internship: Sustainable Farming for Hunger Relief

Spend your summer working with a leading Central Massachusetts non-profit organization as they continue to improve operations and expand their reach of healthy produce to Worcester County’s most vulnerable. Gain valuable experience and learn about mid-size farming practices, the basics of non-profit operations, and volunteer organizing while you spend your summer outdoors working with a diverse group of staff and volunteers.  Be part of a dynamic team aiding hunger relief in Worcester County while exploring your future.  

Responsibilities

Our Interns will participate fully in all aspects of operating a non-profit volunteer farming organization.  They will have direct hands-on engagement in farming over 10 acres of vegetables and 30 acres of fruit trees.  The internship includes working with and leading volunteers in farm activity while gaining valuable leadership and communication skills.  

Tasks include but not limited to:

  • Lead diverse groups of volunteer farmers in daily activities at our farms primarily in North Grafton, MA.
  • Assist with maintaining a positive volunteer experience for all who visit the farm
  • Assist with farm tasks like maintenance (tending, harvesting, irrigating, mowing, etc.)
  • Occasional visits to work with our orchard team in Harvard, MA will be required.    
  • Support and work on some organizational events as needed
  • Other tasks as needed

Educational Components

  • Interns will have the opportunity to work with and learn from all staff members of the non-profit and will gain insight into the multi-faceted operations of the organization
  • Interns will be responsible for completing a project proposal to benefit the future capacity of the organization. This proposal will be completed as a group and will require collaboration and outside-the-box thinking.  
  • The internship also includes off-site visits to partner organizations which allows students an opportunity to learn more about local hunger relief efforts and non-profit partnerships.

Requirements, qualified applicants will:

  • Be an excellent communicator and be able to demonstrate previous leadership responsibility
  • Have interest and/or some experience in farming or gardening
  • Be able to lift farm equipment and/or produce weighing up to 50 pounds
  • Be comfortable using or learning to use power tools like weed-whackers and lawn mowers
  • Be prepared for work in outdoor weather conditions, we operate rain or shine
  • Work within a team or independently, be self-motivated, with great attention to detail
  • Have reliable transportation   
  • Be available for 30 hours per week, June through August, working primarily morning hours with an occasional late afternoon/early evening or Saturday
  • Be flexible and have a sense of humor! This is a real farming operation and we operate at the whim of nature, so flexibility is key

Organization Information:

Community Harvest Project (CHP), a 501(c)3 organization, is dedicated to improving access to healthy foods through community engagement.  Through their volunteer farming, education, and volunteer programs and partnerships, they bring thousands of community members together each year to build an engaged and healthier Worcester County.  In 2018 working together with over 8,700 volunteers they produced significant fresh produce resources for individuals and families in need throughout our community who otherwise may not have had access.  The produce is donated through numerous partner organizations such as The Worcester County Food Bank, Community Servings, Loaves and Fishes, Jeremiah’s Inn, and The Hector Reyes House.  CHP operates at Brigham Hill Community Farm and White’s Farm in North Grafton, MA and at Prospect Hill Farm in Harvard, MA.  

For more information about their programs and impact, please visit www.community-harvest.org.

Contact

To apply send letter of interest and resume via e-mail to Wayne McAuliffe, Manager of Volunteer Programs, at wayne@community-harvest.org