Chester County is home to a bounty of fertile farmland—nearly 165,000 acres, according to the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture—and here at the Chester County Food Bank, we don’t take that incredible resource for granted. We’re proud to have two local farm partners: Pete’s Produce Farm in West Chester and Springton Manor Farm in Glenmoore. Both of these farms are generous enough to donate acreage to the CCFB and allow us to grow our own produce there.
On nearly five acres of farmland between Pete’s and Springton, we’re able to grow a large quantity of a limited variety of crops. Throughout the growing season—which runs from April until November each year—we’ll see kale, collard greens, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, onions, garlic, tomatillos, sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes and herbs all coming from our fields! All of this nourishing, locally grown food adds up over the months—we harvested over 120,000 pounds of produce last year, all of which goes to local families and neighbors in need through our partner hunger relief agencies and Food Security Initiatives.
How do we implement such a significant program? Through the help of our amazing volunteers! Each season, we rely on over 1,000 volunteers to get outside to plant, maintain and harvest our nutrient-dense crops. Volunteering with our farm partners is a wonderful way to get to the roots of food insecurity, and there’s nothing quite so rewarding as spending a few hours out on the farm and seeing the impact of your hard work. If you’ve got a weekday afternoon or a few mornings to spare this growing season, we encourage you to come out to the fields with us and get your hands dirty in the best way!
A few more facts about our on-site farm volunteer opportunities:
- We average 15 volunteers each day during the height of the season, splitting time between a.m. and p.m. shifts Monday – Friday.
- Our need is greatest in late August and early September, when students return to school.
- Volunteering with us is simple: if you’re interested, check out our online calendar, create a profile and sign up for any workdays that fit your schedule!
- Volunteer opportunities are also available at our Community Gardens at Springton and in Phoenixville. Garden days are hosted in the morning to get the harvesting in before it’s too hot. These opportunities are also posted on our online calendar,
- There’s no obligation or ongoing commitment to volunteer. Of course, we love when volunteers come out on a regular basis, but it’s fine if you can only sign up for one day.
- If, for some reason, you’re unable to attend a workday that you signed up for, we only ask that you cancel with plenty of advance notice (at least 48 hours).
- To schedule a group workday (five or more individuals), email firstname.lastname@example.org with three potential dates.
To get started with creating an account, looking at our volunteer schedule or signing up to work at one of the beautiful farms, head over to our volunteer site.
Want to learn more? Sign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate food, funds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or request a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.
The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.