Frequently Asked Questions
Gaining Ground maintains an online non-profit profile at The Giving Common that provides detailed information on our mission, programs, management and financials.
Read about the Gaining Ground model of hunger relief and volunteerism in our Model Overview. We’ll tell you a bit about what we do and how we do it. We hope our story will inspire you.
If you need more information before signing up to volunteer, please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the Volunteer Guidelines and FAQ sections to see if your question is answered there, too.
Gaining Ground Office
Mailing Address: Gaining Ground, P.O. Box 374, Concord, MA 01742
Gaining Ground is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
For more details on our operations and financial status, please see Gaining Ground’s profile on The Boston Foundation’s Giving Common, a free online resource to inform data-driven, strategic philanthropic activities.
The main garden of Gaining Ground is located in Concord, Massachusetts on the farmland behind the birthplace of Henry David Thoreau, American writer and naturalist. Gaining Ground also operates a smaller, colonial reproduction garden in Concord on the grounds of The Old Manse, once home to the Emerson family and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Volunteer opportunities are available at both sites during the growing season for appropriate groups. Both gardens are near public transportation in Concord Center, but are easier to get to by car.
See our Directions page for more information.
Office volunteers help in our office—in the Thoreau Birthplace House at 341 Virginia Road, Concord—with mailings, data entry, volunteer scheduling, publicity, and program and event planning.
Gaining Ground relies on donations from individuals and groups to support its programs. For example, schools and church groups have generously established fund drives and other efforts to raise money for Gaining Ground.
Tax-deductible donations can be sent to: Gaining Ground, P.O. Box 374, Concord, MA 01742.
Gaining Ground accepts marketable securities as a donation, enabling you to make a charitable contribution while adjusting your portfolio and never paying the capital gain on the donated appreciated securities. Please contact our officefor more information.
If you would like to volunteer on the farm between April and October, we suggest you review our Volunteer Guidelines and then sign up for specific sessions 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 February through March.
During February and March, you may also volunteer to help collect buckets of sap from sugar maple trees in the Concord community. Space is limited and the schedule is variable. You also use the online form that is available in early February.
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.
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.
Minimum age for unaccompanied volunteers is 15 (occasionally 14, if in high school). Children 5 and older are welcome if accompanied by parents or other adults to supervise them.
You may bring snack food and beverages. However, we expect you to carry out all trash that you bring in.
We provide water and tools as well as tables, benches, a bathroom, and hand-washing sink. We also have a bag of assorted gloves that never seem to fit or match!
No. The only time we are not working in the fields is during thunder and lightning.
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! Further information is provided in our Volunteer Releases, Preparation and Directions document.
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. Further information is provided in our Volunteer Releases, Preparation and Directions document.
From April through October, we work with volunteers to accomplish a variety of farm tasks. We welcome individual and group volunteers Tuesday through Saturday, between 9am and 3pm. Upon special request, a group (6–12 people) may be scheduled on Sundays.
During February and March, sugaring volunteers and visitors can generally help on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays. The exact schedule depends upon the weather.
Our office is normally open Monday through Friday during business hours.
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. Further information is provided in our Volunteer Releases, Preparation and Directions document. In addition, this is the Waiver Form for Individuals and Groups.