Volunteer Q&A: Mark Mullins

This year more than 3,200 people have volunteered with Gaining Ground, helping us promote regional food security by growing and donating fresh, organic produce for people in need! One of those community members is Mark Mullins, who first volunteered in 2022—and has kept coming back! We appreciate Mark’s consistent, positive presence, and were glad to learn more about his interest in hunger relief farming.

How did you learn about Gaining Ground and why did you choose to get involved with the farm?

I became interested in Gaining Ground after I attended the barn raising with my daughter, about 10 years ago. I volunteered because I support the mission and wanted to learn more about farming.

Prior to your work at Gaining Ground, what was your connection to hunger relief, regenerative farming, or food justice?

My grandparents owned a market, and when I was young I spent weekends delivering groceries and fresh produce to the elderly and people without transportation. I think that helped me appreciate how difficult it can be to get access to high quality, healthy food.

Is there anything unusual or especially memorable—like a life lesson—that you’ve learned while growing food at Gaining Ground?

I’m always impressed with the Gaining Ground staff’s patient, steady guidance. It’s amazing how much work a group of strangers can accomplish in just two hours! There is a lesson in that for all of us.

How would you persuade a friend to join you for a volunteer session?

Gaining Ground is such a fun and supportive community. Who wouldn’t want to get their hands dirty volunteering at a farm for such a great cause?

Volunteers do a LOT on the farm! What projects or tasks do you like the most?

From picking squash to weeding, there are so many to choose from. But one of my favorites is broadforking. It’s great exercise and the repetitiveness is strangely soothing.

If you could be any Gaining Ground crop, what would you choose and why?

I think I’d pick the radish. We may be small and low to the ground, but hopefully we add a bit of zest to this salad called life!