Sharing the Harvest Farm
|Above photo - Left to right: Derek Heim - Executive Director Dartmouth YMCA, Gary Schuyler - CEO YMCA Southcoast and Ulice Payne, Jr. - YMCA of the USA Board Chair.
Sharing the Harvest Community Farm Project of the Dartmouth YMCA was highlighted on the stage of the YMCA’s General Assembly in Salt Lake City that took place on July 8-11th.
Keynote speakers included Soledad O’Brien, CNN’s award winning political news reporter and Dr. John Maxwell, one of America’s foremost experts on leadership.Gary Schuyler, YMCA Southcoast CEO, traveled with Susan Moniz Harrington, Board Chair, Dartmouth YMCA and Derek Heim, Executive Director, Dartmouth YMCA to attend the YMCA’s General Assembly in Salt Lake City Utah.This governance and leadership conference convenes every three years and brings YMCAs together from across the country. YMCA Southcoast received special recognition and was highlighted with a five-minute video about all the great work being done with the Sharing the Harvest Community Farm Project at our Dartmouth YMCA. This video can be seen by going to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUXvZuwfucg
The farm project was highlighted because of its work in “Social Responsibility”, one of the three components of the new brand launch of Y-USA. Our “Share the Harvest” farm project exemplifies social and community responsibility as we bring hundreds of volunteers together to raise thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables that are distributed to needy individuals via local food pantries.
Hunger and nutrition are serious issues in Massachusetts. According to an alarming study by Project Bread, the prevalence of hunger in the state has increased by more than 50% in 2010 in low income communities. Communities we serve are listed among cities with the highest concentrations of hunger in Massachusetts, where one child in three lives in a family unable to meet its basic need for food resulting in “food Insecurity.”
The Sharing the Harvest YMCA Community Farm Project is a grassroots effort to alleviate hunger at the local level. The community farm at the Dartmouth YMCA was created for the express purpose of producing fresh and nutritious local fruits and vegetables fordistribution by the Hunger Commission.
Sharing the Harvest has three major objectives:
- Alleviate hunger for children, families and adults in need of food assistance throughout the Southcoast region of Massachusetts by growing and distributing nutritional food to food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency feeding programs along the Southcoast of Massachusetts.
- Promote volunteerism and an awareness of hunger in our communities, building community through neighbors helping neighbors.
- Teach volunteers about agriculture, nutrition, and where our food comes from.
Sharing the Harvest is driven by volunteers, to date more then 2500 volunteer hours have been logged by more then 1500 individual volunteers and groups. Although our major focus is growing nutritional food to alleviate hunger, this project promotes volunteerism andfosters the education of volunteers and the community at large to understand and confront the reality of hunger right in their own communities.
The success of this community farm is a true testament to the positive impact volunteerism and community partnerships can have in solving problems facing our cities and towns in today’s challenging economic environment. Our ongoing relationship with many local community organizations, farmers and residents is helping to fight hunger and solve a serious community need. Sharing the Harvest is making a difference and improving the quality of life for thousands of low income children, families and seniors in Southcoast, Massachusetts.