A Warm Welcome Back to Our Volunteers!
Gaining Ground was thrilled to announce the reopening of our volunteer program this growing season. After a year of isolation and overwhelming challenges, it feels important for all of us—our farmers and our volunteers—to have the opportunity to reconnect with the land and come together in support of hunger relief. Volunteers are essential to the labor-intensive nature of our work. We are a no-till farm that doesn’t rely on tractors or mechanical equipment to break the soil, making each pair of hands essential. Volunteers energize our farmers, too. We love sharing our knowledge and passion for sustainable agriculture and food access as we dig our hands into the soil alongside volunteers. The questions, enthusiasm, and positive remarks from volunteers provide fuel for the long days of work.
The year off from the volunteer program gave our farmers and staff the space and time to evaluate the experiences offered to our volunteers. After collaborative and thoughtful discussions amongst volunteers, staff, and board members, Gaining Ground worked toward crafting a more memorable and meaningful volunteer experience for all. In recent months, we have designed more educational visuals for volunteers in the pavilion, created a new staff position of farm education manager, and held a volunteer training for our farmers. We are excited to share our updates with volunteers in person.
On April 21, we cautiously opened the farm to volunteers with new capacity limits and safety protocols to protect everyone who works at and visits our farm. Gaining Ground welcomes one volunteer group per week and up to eight individual volunteers a day. Groups are limited to 10 people. As always, volunteers must schedule in advance through our online registration system. While we wish we could welcome even more volunteers—and we look forward to a time soon when that will be possible—we feel this is a great first step and a mindful, measured way to begin bringing back our community of volunteers to the farm, given the circumstances. We are grateful to the many of you who have already eagerly registered to volunteer with so much compassion and understanding for our current restrictions. For those who would like to sign up, there is still plenty of space available online at gainingground.org/volunteer/