Volunteers are Vital at Juniper Gardens Training Farm

Posted on November 10, 2023 by Alicia Alferman

Gardeners and farmers alike know that coaxing food from the earth is a joyous and reward endeavor. It can also be quite daunting, and even a bit overwhelming! In those busiest times, staff and farmers at New Roots only get by with a little help from our friends. Volunteers are not only welcome, they’re essential to the success of the farmers, and local agriculture generally.

Volunteering efforts at Juniper Gardens Training Farm range from individuals looking for a quiet afternoon immersed in contemplative gardening, to corporate teams seeking fresh air and team spirit, to school groups bringing scores of young people for a Day of Service Learning. Every volunteer and work group brings their own kind of life and energy to garden. Every volunteer makes a difference!

Amy Bousman teaching some Pembrook Hill High School volunteers about invasive plants on the farm.

This season we were joined by an enthusiastic student group of over 100 freshmen from Pembroke Hill, who cleared brush from the fences and cleaned up garden beds for the winter. A hard-working crew from VMLY&R partnered with us as well, helping harvest the last of our tomatoes and potatoes, and powering through stubborn weeds. They even helped bed the new strawberry plants down under a blanket of straw, ensuring a strong start for summer berries next year.

Brien Darby showing two volunteers from Amazon around the farm.

Volunteer projects range far and wide throughout the growing season. Tasks needing extra hands might include:

  • Planting seedlings
  • Harvesting tomatoes, peppers, or other warm-season crops
  • Digging sweet potatoes!
  • Cleaning tools and machinery
  • Bending hoops for season-extending row covers
  • Adding compost and straw to new garden beds
  • Good old-fashioned weeding!

VMLY&R folks (+ our tiny friend, Cookie) planting strawberry plants at Juniper Gardens.

Are you interested in getting your hands dirty with us, partnering with small farmers to help ensure the success of local organic agriculture in your community?! Even though the 2023 growing season has wound down, and our volunteer needs have changed, we still have volunteer opportunities that arise during the winter. Keep an eye on THIS PAGE, and if you would like to join us as a volunteer gardener or bring your group out in the future, please fill out the our VOLUNTEER INTEREST FORM to let us know. 

written by Jovan Brown, Juniper Gardens Training Farm Program Manager