Gaining Ground, a non profit farm in Concord, MA, is seeking an Administrative Assistant to manage the day-to-day responsibilities of supporting our organization. An ideal candidate should be highly organized and self-motivated with an ability to work independently. The candidate will need to juggle multiple tasks, meet deadlines, and work with a variety of people. Our grassroots organization thrives on committed, friendly individuals who support our mission with enthusiasm and a sense of humor.
The board’s recent work on a strategic plan is taking shape in important ways. As part of the goal to develop a new leadership plan, Amy Capofreddi has been appointed our first executive director, responsible for executing strategy and growing the organization.
One of the joys of farming is that each season is a fresh start, bringing new challenges and new successes. Until you are in it, you never know how it will go. Farming forces you to be present, to live in the now and depend on the elements. You can plan as much as possible, but it is the day to day that really affects the season.
Gaining Ground has focused on hunger relief for the underserved for more than twenty years. When we think about the families and children we serve, we have many questions about the food we grow and its potential impact on our recipients. Come join us at Concord's Food, Farm and Garden Fair (Saturday, September 9, from 10:00 to 2:00) or visit us at the farm for Gaining Ground’s Community Harvest Celebration (Sunday, September 10, noon to 3:00) as we launch a year-long exploration into the connections between soil vitality, healthy food, and hunger relief.
At the beginning of the summer, Gretchen Nelson, head of the board’s Recipient Committee, and I scheduled visits to the amazing organizations that distribute our produce. With growing season in full swing, seeing our vegetables filling tables, shelves, and bags was clearly going to be powerful. I had been told that our produce is often the only fresh food many of these organizations receive on a weekly basis, but seeing it first-hand solidified why we do what we do at Gaining Ground.
This fall, we welcome two new youth board members: Matt and Hannah.
Farm Team is a program within Gaining Ground that brings together local high school-aged kids who have a genuine passion for being outside and getting their hands dirty. We hope to assist the farmers with the greatest amount of work possible. This means heading out to the farm every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 am to noon, rain or shine, throughout the summer.
Throughout my two visits to Gaining Ground, I have learned more about farming in the fields than I could have in two weeks in school. I have really learned farming isn’t all fun and games. There are tasks that will leave your sore for a week. After going through what these farmers do every day, I have newfound respect for everyone who chooses to work on a farm, especially when 100% of your produce goes to charity.
Thanks to the support of Patagonia Boston and a Patagonia Enviro Internship grant, I am grateful to be volunteering with the farm staff at Gaining Ground for four weeks this summer. Everywhere I turn I see signs of ecosystem health.
Market season is upon us. Tomatoes are ripening up and our fall plants are going in the ground this week. Here are a few highlights from our three markets in Lowell and Concord where we directly distribute our produce.
We are off to a great start at our two markets for Head Start families in Lowell. At one site, we serve approximately 23-28 families each week. At our first market we found a caterpillar on the fennel, which was adopted by a classroom, heard many food stories and saw many children happily eating the snap peas and broccoli out of hand. A mom who is Vietnamese American was excited to see the fennel for her pho soup.
After the completion of our five year strategic plan, “Dig Deeper,” the Gaining Ground board tackled the question: “What’s Next?” The 2017 Plan, “Expanding Our Reach and Impact,” presents fitting and exciting challenges for Gaining Ground.
This summer the Gaining Ground board welcomed two new talented members, Jen Flint and Polly Vanasse.
Thanks to improved farming practices and expanded infrastructure, for the first time ever Gaining Ground has donated produce each month this year and started full-season distribution earlier in June than previous years.
We donate to a mix of organizations that provide food pantries and/or meal programs in a variety of locations. This year, our full-time recipient partner organizations include:
- Food Pantry and Meals: Open Table (Concord/Maynard)
- Food Pantry: Bedford Food Pantry, Loaves and Fishes (Ayer), Rosie’s Place (Boston), Sudbury Food Pantry, Westford Housing Community
- Meal Programs: House of Hope (Lowell), Lowell Transitional Living Center, Pine Street Inn (Boston)
- Free Markets: Food for Families (Concord); Head Start (two locations in Lowell)
Everyone always talks about how high school is such a blur—a crazy, fun, busy blur. Upon graduating, we can confirm this. But there were the days where it all slowed down. On many of these days, we were on the farm.
This year, Farm Manager Doug Wolcik, Assistant Farm Manager Hannah Lawson, and Market Manager Paula Jordan are leading a strong, enthusiastic team. We welcome Sage Hess and Alex MacLellan as field crew members, Blair Kimble as a summer field hand and volunteer supporter, and Macayla Cote as market intern.