2020 was a year that tested all communities, and ours rose to meet the many challenges. To read about our amazing community that helped us meet the many challenges of the year head on – click here!
We are pleased to announce that CHP has received our certification as a Points of Light Service Enterprise sponsored by the Massachusetts Service Alliance and the MetroWest Nonprofit Network. Service Enterprise certification is a prestigious accomplishment for an organization. In fact, organizations that certify join the top 11 percent of nonprofits nationwide in volunteer management and organizational performance. Service Enterprise certification indicates that the organization has the capability and management expertise to strategically leverage volunteers to improve the performance of their organization.
“This Service Enterprise Program has highlighted our success in organizing volunteers in support of our mission while challenging us to think differently and explore additional opportunities for growth. It has refocused our staff and board on the importance of leading with volunteerism and on expanding our reach with all programming. In addition, the certification process has provided us with tools and training resources that will continue to be useful as we evaluate all facets of our operation and grow for years to come.” said Wayne McAuliffe, Manager of Volunteer Programs at CHP.
The submissions are in and we want to know which design YOU want to see on our 2021 T-shirts. Please vote for the design that best represents our mission; CHP engages and educates volunteers to grow fruits and vegetables for hunger relief.
One vote per person. To vote, click here:https://forms.gle/Rhtzj2xY35mbJBFS6
As we look forward to everything that 2021 has in store for us, our partners, and our volunteers, we want to take a moment to take a look back on some successes of 2020. One such success is the nutritional education and farm share distribution program run by our hunger relief partner, The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden. The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden is a cancer support center dedicated to providing cancer support, therapeutic services and education to all people facing cancer.
For a fifth consecutive year, participants of the LiveWell Program received monthly boxes of food pantry items including grains, spices, legumes and some of our produce, paired with specialized instruction from local chef Amy Noordzji to help incorporate the novel nutrition into their regular diets.
Over 68% of participants in the LiveWell program reported that their consumption of healthy, fresh produce was limited by the cost of that produce.
“Due to COVID-19 and income uncertainty earlier this year, we cut down monthly spending by buying less perishable food.” – A LiveWell Program Participant.
Because of the food shares provided by the LiveWell program from our farm, participants experienced an up to 65% reduction in nutritional concerns and a 50% improvement in overall being, showing that ACCESS to fresh produce paired with nutritional lessons and group support solves a vast range of nutritional concerns and problems.
Because of the access to fresh foods, 84% of the LiveWell Participants ate all of the vegetables provided in the biweekly shares and formed a healthy eating habit – almost all participants more than doubled their original fruit and vegetable consumption!
July was an extremely busy month at both our locations! Over 69,000 pounds have been donated for hunger relief so far this season! Our farm team has been working day in and day out to harvest all the produce still in our fields. Just this week, okra, cucumbers, cabbage and tomatoes have been picked, washed and packed with the help of our wonderful volunteers. Our orchard has started their harvest season as well!
Thank you to the following July funders for their support of our mission to provide fresh, healthy produce for individuals in our community experiencing hunger. Ludcke Foundation, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Bridging Peace of Tides Foundation, Fletcher Foundation, Mathworks, The Vela Foundation and Bristol Myers Squibb have granted critical funds that will help us continue to harvest for hunger relief throughout the 2020 season.
Your help is needed at our Harvard Orchard, It’s apple season!
It’s time to begin getting our apples off the trees and all we need now is some group volunteers to fill in our schedule. There is no better activity than being outside in an apple orchard on a fall morning. These apples will be donated directly to hunger relief partners throughout Central Massachusetts making your time a great way to support our community. We have strict social distancing protocols in place and the work is outdoors in the orchard or in our open air packing room to keep you safe during your visit.
We have a significant amount of volunteers needed from now through the end of October. Consider organizing a group visit with your colleagues, neighbors, family and friends. To sign up and request a volunteer date please fill out and submit this form. Any questions, please email Wayne McAuliffe directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are in the middle of our busiest season around the farm – harvest season! Our farm team and volunteers have been harvesting vegetables everyday including eggplant, tomatoes, okra, tomatillos and zucchini. Carrots and beets were planted just last week and our second planting of summer squash and zucchini has germinated and will be ready for harvest in late August and into September.
To date, our team has harvested over 36,316 pounds of vegetables; that is over 166,565 individual servings going to neighbors in our community currently experiencing hunger. And there are still thousands of pounds of produce in the fields to harvest. If you are interested in volunteering with us this summer – we would love to have you! We are now holding early shifts from 7am to 9am on Tuesdays and Thursdays in addition to our 9am-12pm shifts Monday-Saturday. We are also now accepting group volunteer requests (25 people or less) for our orchard schedule starting August 28 through October 9th. For more information and to signup, click here.
On June 20, 2020 at their Annual Town Meeting, voters in the Town of Harvard agreed to contribute $150,000 of Community Preservation Funds toward the purchase of an agricultural preservation restriction (APR) for our Prospect Hill Orchard!
To ensure the long lasting future of harvesting fruit for hunger relief at our orchard, we have teamed up with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the Town of Harvard, Harvard Conservation Trust (HCT), and the Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) to raise funds to endow our orchard through the sale of the APR, which will allow farming to continue on the land and prevent the property from ever being developed.
2019 was a milestone year. At the conclusion of the 2019 harvesting season, we had officially donated over ONE MILLION pounds of produce for hunger relief in just 5 years. Nutritious fruits and vegetables were made available to 83,538 of our neighbors who don’t have enough nutrient-rich food to put on their tables.
This benchmark, however, would not have been possible without our community of dedicated volunteers, staff, board members, hunger relief partners, interns, monthly givers, corporate sponsors and our hundreds of individual donors. To read about the Impact of One Million in our 2019 Annual Report, and all the people who helped us get there – click here!
Spring is always a busy time at our Harvard orchard. 130 Ambrosia trees were planted which have already started to leaf out and some even have blossoms. The flowers will be pulled off for a few years to let the trees focus their energy on growing strong roots and branches. The other apple and peach trees are in fruit setting mode! Now that fruit is beginning to grow, fertilizing around the orchard will start. Spring is a critical time for pest management – our orchard team has been scouting for insect and disease issues.
We have also been harvesting asparagus daily and delivering it to Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry for donations on Wednesday and Fridays. Asparagus is the first crop we harvest from either property for donation.
Last week was our Orchard Assistant, Savannah’s, last day. Savannah has been a part of the CHP Team since 2017 when she joined as a summer intern. After graduating from Clark University in 2018, she re-joined the team in the fall of 2018 as the orchard assistant. She hit the ground running in the busy harvest season – and never stopped. “I can’t express how much I will miss working with Savannah. Not only is she a hard worker with a great attitude, but she is also a wonderful individual that I have been lucky enough to get to know” says Susan Conant, Orchard Manager. Savannah has been essential in implementing so many projects at the orchard during her time here. While we are excited to see what her next chapter brings and wish her nothing but good luck, she will be truly missed by the staff and volunteers.