Spring is planting season, and this spring our team got out of our Boston office and back to our (brand) roots with a farm field trip.
Central Massachusetts is home to some beautiful farmland - not only the original 88 Acre farm that our co-founder, Nicole, grew up on, but also a 15-acre farm belonging to the Community Harvest Project. We visited the CHP farm to learn about community gardening and the growing issue of food insecurity in MA.
The Community Harvest Project is a non-profit farm in Worcester, MA that engages volunteers to grow produce for those experiencing hunger. 88 Acres shares a similar food philosophy with CHP - that everyone should have access to healthy food. CHP’s major partners are the Worcester County Food Bank and Community Servings in Jamaica Plain. These partnerships help CHP provide produce to as many families in need as possible.
Our team visited the farm to plant squash and learn about the process of growing food on a large scale with only volunteers to help. We were tasked with planting several rows of Kabocha squash seedlings in the field. Farming experience among the team ranged from having never touched a plant in a garden, to having grown up on a farm. No matter the level of experience, with some great instruction from CHP’s farm coordinator, we were all working hard in no time.
After only 2 hours of work, we had planted 1,086 Kabocha squash. That’s enough for over 11,000 servings of squash!
After planting, we had the opportunity to visit the greenhouse, where Community Harvest Project starts all of their plants from seed. This allows the plants to be nurtured and protected while in the early stages of growth, before being transplanted into the rows outside (as we did with the squash seedlings).
We also took a tour through CHP’s commercial kitchen, where they hold fun, interactive cooking courses with kids to help them learn where their food comes from and promote healthy eating habits.
After our tours, we got back to work! We finished the day with some weeding. We used a long-handled hoe (long wooden pole with triangular metal scraper at the end, used for digging up weeds along the rows of plants).
It was special to participate in the young plants’ journey from seeds in the greenhouse to the transition outside. A few months from now, those Kabocha squash will be full-grown plants with vegetables ready to be harvested and distributed across Worcester county.