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Frequently Asked Questions

When is Gaining Ground open?

Our growing season extends from April through October. We welcome individual and group volunteers Tuesday through Saturday, between 9am and 4pm. Upon special request, a group (6–12 people) may be scheduled on Sundays.

Our sugaring season depends upon the weather, but generally occurs during February and March. Volunteers and visitors need to coordinate with the farm staff for timing of collection and sugar boils.

Our office is generally open Monday through Friday during business hours.

How do I volunteer at Gaining Ground?

You may sign up to volunteer for April through October field work using our online form. Our staff will follow up with your request and confirm a date and time, generally within three business days during the growing season and within a week December through February.

For a span of about six weeks, typically in February and March, you may volunteer to help collect buckets of sap from sugar maple trees in the Concord and Carlisle communities. Space is limited and the schedule is variable. Please email us if you are interested in participating as a volunteer or visiting with a group.

Occasionally we need help on indoor office projects such as mailings, data entry, research, technology and social media support, event organization, etc. Please contact Program Manager Fan Watkinson to discuss the possibilities.

What's the work in the field like?

Every day is different, but working at the farm is fun, physical work that our volunteers find rewarding and interesting. No gardening experience is needed.

How long do volunteers work?

Volunteers in the field are invited to help for two to three hours either in the morning or afternoon. Many volunteers choose to come several times during the growing season to see the results of their work.

Who volunteers?

We welcome groups and individuals of all abilities to volunteer in the fields. Generally, a combination of groups and individuals are helping at any given time. Group leaders are expected to support the farm staff in leadership of their groups.

How old do you need to be to volunteer?

Minimum age for unaccompanied volunteers is 15. Children 5 and older are welcome if accompanied by parents or other adults to supervise them.

What should we wear?

We recommend wearing temperature-appropriate clothes that can get dirty and a hat and sunblock for skin protection. If the forecast calls for rain, please bring rain jackets and shoes or boots for the mud!

What if it rains? Is our visit cancelled?

No. The only time we are not working in the fields is during thunder and lightning.

What does Gaining Ground provide?

We provide water, tools, and gardening gloves as well as tables, benches, a portable toilet, and hand-washing sink.

Should we bring food?

You may bring snack food and beverages. However, we expect you to carry out all trash that you bring in.