A shark has to keep moving in order to survive. Without the constant stream of water, they suffocate and die. Likewise, millennials share a common inability to be at rest. We are a group of five Acton-Boxborough high school seniors who choose to farm, instead of occupying our minds with daytime television and outdated sitcoms. We call ourselves SHARK.
Articles tagged with: Volunteers
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.
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.
Did you volunteer at Gaining Ground last year? If so, you were one of more than 3,000 volunteers who contributed to 7,500-plus hours of planting, weeding, watering, and carefully tending the rainbow of produce on Gaining Ground’s farm.
How fortunate we are that Liza Connolly, chef and co-founder of Kids Cooking Green, has volunteered to pick up and help prepare our produce weekly during this fall’s pilot partnership program with Waltham Boys and Girls Club (WBGC). With a mission to inspire youth to reach their full potential, WBGC offers a welcoming space weekdays and holidays for athletics, creativity, social recreation, and community service. These activities require energy fueled by good food, yet for many of its members, hunger and nutrition are a daily challenge.
Why do I volunteer at Gaining Ground? Interesting question. I started there because I was looking for a way to be useful in this world. I stayed because I get more than I give.
The Board and Staff would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those supporters who have given generously and shared their time and talents with Gaining Ground this season.
The first time I visited Gaining Ground I was in third grade with a school group. I was really impressed by the selflessness of the farmers: growing so much organic food, to then donate to charity. I had been looking for ways to positively influence those in need, and I decided that this was a great way to do so because I would be able to help others, while working and having fun.
For farms, winter means more time to plan, and this year’s focus has been to streamline our volunteer sign-up process. We want our volunteers to spend less time in their planning and more enjoyable time in the planting and harvesting.
The Board and Staff would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those supporters who have given generously and shared their time and talents with Gaining Ground through the winter and early spring in 2016.
Everyone has a food story. It just seems to take a little talking to learn it. Working with Gaining Ground volunteers over the years, I have heard many stories that I collected like slips of paper. It was just this year that I realized how these food stories come from all types of people. There was the woman who remembered the house made of pole beans her dad built her when she was small. There was mint that a third grade boy recognized because he and his dad stop to visit a patch every time they walk their dog. There are nostalgic descriptions of grandmothers’ gardens and the gardens of mothers and fathers vivid with vegetables even though some were planted fifty years ago. And, of course, there are the gardens growing at homes this season, with their woodchuck stories and their memorable one-strawberry harvests. There are always tales of the delicious meals made, too. Telling stories provides an easy way for everyone working to join in the conversation of favorite ways to use, eat, and preserve.
With so many volunteers, Gaining Ground has needed an additional picnic table and benches. This spring, high school student Santiago Benoit of Concord’s Troop 132 took on the challenge as his Eagle Scout project. In August, he and a team of Scouts spent the day putting together the many components just in time for September’s Harvest Fest. Numerous volunteers have appreciated the additional resting space.
“I wouldn’t really call them mice. Definitely rats. House-cat-sized. This is one of the many trapdoors where they enter.”
Enough! Gaining Ground Farm Managers Kayleigh Boyle and Doug Wolcik vividly brought to life our rodent-ravaged greenhouse in a video to NetScout employees during the final selection stage of their Heart of Giving Community Program. Westford-based NetScout partnered with The Greater Lowell Community Foundation to invite project proposals from regional nonprofits. A committee of NetScout employees reviewed 16 proposals and winnowed them down to three finalists. Each finalist gave a 10-minute pitch and, through a company-wide vote, the employees chose Gaining Ground’s proposal to upgrade our greenhouse.