Sharing the Harvest YMCA Community Farm
The Sharing the Harvest YMCA Community Farm in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts is is a collaborative effort between the YMCA Southcoast and the Hunger Commission of Southeastern Massachusetts (a program of the United Way of Greater New Bedford). Beginning with a one acre parcel in 2006 that yielded nearly 6,000 pounds of produce, the farm now produces over 20,000 pounds of organically grown produce on several acres, which is then distributed to local food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency feeding programs. Always setting their sites higher, in the coming years, this volunteer-driven farm intends to harvest and donate over 40,000 pounds of produce to help provide hunger relief throughout the region.
The Farm aims to alleviate hunger for children, families and adults in need of food assistance; promote volunteerism; and to teach volunteers about agriculture, nutrition and where food comes from. As such, athough their major focus is growing nutritious food to alleviate hunger, this project educates thousands of volunteers and the community at large in understanding and confronting the reality of hunger in their own communities and strengthens the social fabric of these communities through neighbors helping neighbors.
The Farm also serves as an outdoor learning center for local school children, visitors and community members who visit and work on the farm. Opening its fields to numerous student groups as an outdoor classroom, children are able to make direct connections with food and nature and, depending on the time of year, are given the opportunity to prepare a bed for planting, sow seeds, tend the crops and/or help with the harvest. The Farm provides a place for students to explore new territories, taste new flavors and consider the role that agriculture and local food production plays in the formation of their personal and community health.
Visit the Sharing the Harvest YMCA Community Farm’s website to learn how this project is alleviating hunger, promoting volunteerism and connecting students and volunteers to food and the land while growing a better community. In addition, you can learn more about the Farm by viewing this informational video overview.