The Long View

A speech-language pathologist in a school setting, Meghan has been volunteering during the summers for 14 years.

I have been volunteering at Gaining Ground since July 2004, a couple of months after I moved here to start graduate school at Emerson College. Many things have changed over the years, including the amount of land farmed, increasing use of greenhouses and hoop houses, the building of the sugar shack, and the staff and interns. Side projects—as they seem to be to the one-morning-a-week volunteer, anyway—have also varied from one year to the next, from getting rid of the poison ivy behind the pavilion, to caring for bees and harvesting honey, to raising chickens, to growing hops (this year being round two). There are also those things that I personally get to enjoy regularly, such as the new(ish) barn with its outdoor washing stations and the organized table system for pick-ups.

The elements that never charge are the ones that have kept me coming back since my grad school days—and I’m not talking about my least favorite job, which is getting rid of potato beetle larvae. The faces are always friendly. I love being productive outside on a summer day. I learn a lot about lots of interesting topics, including plants, farming, pests, and cooking, as well as feline mental health, circus school, and the college application process these days. This opportunity to help provide food for those in need turns out to be as much of a gift to me as it is for Gaining Ground’s recipients.