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

Thank You 2018 Corporate and Foundation Grantmakers!

unumEach year Community Harvest Project relies on generous donations from community grantors to keep our programs running. Last year was no exception and in 2018 our grants supported a large range of CHP’s work, from operating support to specific equipment or programs.

Many exciting projects were made possible by these corporate and foundation grants, such as curtailing erosion and launching a new education program with South High Community School called CRAVE (ClassRoom Agriculture and Vegetable Education). They also funded the vital basics that make our operation possible, like seeds and potting soil, cardboard boxes for distributing produce, and the staff that makes the fundraises, farms, educates, and manages our volunteer programs.

Thank you to our generous grantors, listed below, who ensure that CHP can continue fulfilling our mission. In 2018, your grant support helped enable CHP to donate hundreds of thousands of servings of fresh fruits and vegetables through 14 local community partners serving 90,000 individuals and families8,726 community volunteers of all ages helped us get the work done.

Accenture
Altria Groupa and Distribution Company
AmazonSmile Foundation
AvalonBay Communities
Avidia Bank
B.GOOD
Bank of America
Bay State Savings Bank
Bemis Associates, Inc.
Benevity Community Impact Fund
Berkshire Bank
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Boston Scientific
Bridging Peace Fund Of Tides Foundation
CarMax Foundation
Chipotle
Clif Bar Family Foundation
Clinton Savings Bank
Dana Hall School
DELL Technologies
Doe Family Foundation
Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation
Fallon Health
Fletcher Foundation
FM Global Foundation
Foundation for MetroWest
Fred Harris Daniels Foundation
Frederick E. Weber Charities Corporation
French Family Foundation
George & Alice Rich Charitable Foundation
Give With Liberty
Greater Worcester Community Foundation
Hanover Insurance Group Inc.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Hoche-Scofield Foundation
Homefield Credit Union
Howard E. Stark Charitable Foundation
Intel
Lai (Voon Seng) Household
Leominster Credit Union
MathWorks
Mildred H. McEvoy Foundation
Milford National Charitable Foundation Inc.
Myra Kraft Community MVP Award
National Grid
Nypro – A Jabil Company
Ocean Spray
Osterman Propane
People’s United Bank
PolyOne Distribution
Project Bread
Quite Fetching
Roots in Nature
Ruth H. and Warren A. Ellsworth Foundation
Schwartz Charitable Foundation
State Street Foundation, Inc.
Stonewall Fund
Stop & Shop Supermarkets
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals
Target
Tufts University
UniBank
United Way Of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
Unum
UPS
Vertex Foundation
Webster Five Foundation
Wegmans
Winning Home, Inc.
Worcester County Food Bank
Worcester Garden Club
Wyman-Gordon
Yesod Foundation, Inc.

2019 Brings Exciting New Changes to CHP!

Our New Executive Director

katWe are excited to announce the appointment our new Executive Director, Kat Edwards, who will be taking over the CHP helm from Cordelia Lyon. In her new position Ms. Edwards will lead the foundation’s strategic planning and execution by working collaboratively on a wide range of issues related to CHP’s mission. She plans to continue to develop and grow our community partnerships with leaders in food insecurity nonprofits, business, and government, as well as oversee the existing and evolving volunteer partnerships with our amazing farm and orchard managers. In her role as Executive Director Edwards will provide the Board of Directors with clear strategic leadership and tactical direction while overseeing daily operations at our Grafton farms and Harvard orchard properties.

She is an accomplished professional with many years in executive management of Boston companies and years of managing non-profit organizations. Ms. Edwards most recently worked as a private consultant to foundations and educational institutions, and before that was the Executive Director of The Rappaport Foundation in Boston. Prior to that she worked for The Concord Land Conservation Trust, as an Environmental Commissioner for the Town of Concord, and as Executive Vice President of Donald Tofias & Co. While working for the Land Trust and as a Conservation Commissioner, Edwards interfaced closely with developers, Trustees, town officials, landowners and wealthy donors on complex conservation initiatives and successfully managed the numerous acquisition campaigns for critical land threatened with development.

Kat’s extensive experience in nonprofit development and implementation of marketing strategies, e-based public relations, and communications initiatives also add to what she will be bringing to CHP. She has proven to be an innovative leader who demonstrates outstanding strategic thinking and analytical planning with flexibility, creativity and systemic thought. Edward’s diverse background and creative vision is the perfect fit to advance CHP’s goals of expanding its mission and creating new partnerships.

“I am so lucky to be part of the CHP team. I believe a great nonprofit team requires not only a deep commitment to the foundation’s mission, but also collaborative skills that include conviction, vision and tons of creative energy. I believe CHP’s sincerity of purpose inspires our volunteers to believe that they can make a difference, and then we enable them to make that difference. We plant the seed and they grow that dream into reality. Cordie did an amazing job at CHP and I am excited to move her work forward!” said Kat.

Please join us in welcoming her aboard!

Next month:

Our New Board Member: Bob Paulsen

A Board Member moves on: John Wornham

Schedule Your 2019 Volunteer Visit With Community Harvest Project

wegmanssunflowercrew2 07.29.2018As an organization that relies heavily on support from our community to do the work of the farm we are lucky to have such a loyal following of volunteers.  Year after year we see many of the same groups who look forward to coming out to our farms to assist us in providing healthy and fresh locally grown produce to our local hunger relief partners.  What better way to spend a cold winter day than to begin planning a visit out to our farms this spring, summer or fall?

As we head into the 2019 farming season we are excited to welcome both our loyal regular volunteers and the many new friends that we typically encounter throughout the year back to our farms.  With that comes the need to begin organizing the schedule, we will begin taking Group Volunteer Scheduling Requests for our 2019 Season on Monday, January 14th.    

Here are just a few of the comments from past visitors, come on out and join in the fun!community-servings-07.13.2018.jpg

“Please keep doing fun, community-driven, food-related, volunteering projects like this!”

“The importance of caring and helping those in need makes me feel good knowing that my small part in this experience will make a part of their life a little better or easier. “

“The people are wonderful, the experience is wonderful and I’m thankful that my company allows us time to step away from our desks and do something good for such a worthy cause. Thank you to all the good folks there that do what they do everyday to ensure those less fortunate can get healthy food into their diets.  Your work is so important and we ALL appreciate it and the opportunity to jump in and help every year.”

If you are interested in joining in for our 2019 Season and bringing your group out to volunteer it’s as easy as visiting our CHP volunteer page and filling out and submitting a Group Leader Interest Form.            

The Power of Volunteers: 2018 in Review

south unumAs we end our year we need to ensure that we reflect back and offer a hearty thank you to the thousands of volunteers that visited our farms in 2018. This group of over 8,726 strong is the key to our success. During our early season they come out and plant thousands of seedlings, they pull weeds, harvest, wash and package veggies and help us put our farms to rest again at the end of the season. All of this work is done in the outdoors in the many types of weather that New England throws our way, sometimes several types of weather in one day. All of this selfless work and time is given so that we are able to grow and donate healthy locally grown produce to those seeking hunger relief services throughout the community that we serve. Through the work of our selfless volunteers and all of the hours that they serve we are able to function like a well oiled machine, for that we are eternally grateful.

In the midst of the large number of volunteers there is a small but mighty force of Volunteer Team Leaders leading the charge and helping to facilitate the work of our farms. In 2018 we had 45 Volunteer Team Leaders serve at our farms and they are the glue that holds this place together. Whether they are serving on an advisory committee, working in the fields with our diverse groups of volunteers, helping to prune or deliver to one of our community partners or volunteering at an event this group always can be counted on to represent CHP in the best of light. Their energy, drive and commitment is top notch and without them there would be no volunteer operation here at our farms. So, please join us in thanking our 2018 Volunteer Team Leaders for all that they do day in and day out to welcome and engage our thousands of volunteers. We could not do this great work without them and are humbled by their presence.  

So, to all of our thousands of volunteers, 44 Volunteer Team Leaders, Volunteer Board Members, Advisory Committee Members and outside Group Coordinators we would like to say a hearty thank you for all that you do. It takes a lot of effort to make this look easy and without you all we would be lost.

Thank you all for your support and we hope to see you all back on our farms in 2019.  

Double your impact before the year ends

okra barnGive today and double your impact! Donate to the “One Step Further” campaign!

We are reminded daily of people like yourself who give so selflessly to those in need.  One of our food insecure clients from Loaves and Fishes shares her story with us, “…we receive fresh produce twice a month and it helps us to eat healthier and before using the food pantry I could not afford to buy fresh veggies. Thank you so much.” It is stories like these that remind us why we do what we do and take our passion one step further to help those in need.

Did you know that a $25 donation will provide 68 servings of green beans, $50 will provide 136 servings of leafy greens, or $100 will harvest 270 servings of cabbage? Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, 60,000 food insecure community members received fresh, nutritious produce this summer. However, hunger is an ongoing issue that does not end just because the harvest does. That is why our work never stops and we take steps to ensure every neighbor has access to healthy food they need.

vegWould you be willing to take your passion one step further and make a donation to feed families in need? Donate today and your contribution will make double the impact, because our generous donors, Major General Robert and Karen Catalanotti, are supporting our efforts with a matching gift of $10,000. This means that every dollar you donate will be doubled.  Walk the walk with us, donate to the “One Step Further” campaign, and make a real, lasting impact in the lives of the food insecure community.

With your contribution, you too will be a partner in building a healthy and engaged community!  We cannot do it without you! Thank you!

Donate today at:
http://bit.ly/OneStepFurther2018

P.S.  Share this message with your friends and family and let’s triple or quadruple our impact! Check with your employer too and see if they will match your donation.

 

 

2019 Cooking Class Schedule

kids cookingWe’re excited to release our 2019 Cooking Class Schedule! All cooking classes emphasize nutrition and skill development. Vegetable tasting and preparation is an integral part of every class, and in the growing season every class includes harvesting ingredients from the learning garden. We’re repeating some old favorites, but also added some new topics.

All classes are drop-off and include hands-on cooking the students will do, plus recipes that will be sent home. All classes are vegetarian, but may include allergens. All proceeds from cooking classes support Community Harvest Project’s hunger relief efforts. View the entire 2019 class schedule here!

Broccoli Head Chefs

These 2-hour classes are for 9-12 year olds and emphasize specific nutrition topics, following advanced recipes, and adjusting recipes to your own tastes. This year we are offering Broccoli Head Chef’s classes on rotating days of the week and from 4-6pm.

dipCelery Sous Chefs

These 1-hour classes are geared towards 5-8 year olds and emphasize basic nutrition, reading recipes, measuring, and tasting new things. New this year we are offering two Celery Sous Chef classes each month which feature the same topic but take place on different days of the week and at different times to accommodate more schedules.