70 percent of the work at the Gaining Ground organic farm in the historic Concord, Mass., is completed by volunteers. In fact, volunteers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds harvest approximately 20,000 lbs. of organic produce at the farm each growing season.
Several agencies are on a waiting list to receive food from Gaining Ground, hoping to join the eleven food pantries and meal programs in the area that benefit from the labor of the volunteers. The fresh fruit and vegetables harvested at Gaining Ground are consumed within 20 miles of the farm and within 24 hours of harvest.
Since the produce is consumed within the community, volunteering at Gaining Ground is a real way for local residents to truly assist their neighbors in meeting a critical need. Boston Cares, an affiliate of HandsOn Network, sends at least one or two groups of 15 volunteers to Gaining Ground every month during the harvest and production season. Many Boston Cares volunteers who spend time there consider it their favorite project on the Boston Cares calendar. “The farm does such amazing work and has wonderful crop varieties. I really enjoyed participating and hope to do so again,” said volunteer Ashling Reilly. Caitlin McCartain agreed. “Working at Gaining Ground was my favorite volunteer event so far. I loved this experience,” she said.
By participating in organic farming practices and sending the harvested produce to those who are hungry, these Boston Cares volunteers are exercising kindness to the environment and to their neighbors.