By Margaret Ishihara,
Member, First Congregational Church of Wareham
Youngest farmer" Ariana shows off a crop of tomatoes with Share the Harvest Farmer Dan King
One in three children lives in a family that the government defines as "food insecure" (struggling to keep food on the table) in the South Coast area of Massachusetts.1
After learning this, the First Congregational Church of Wareham (UCC) farm crew wanted to get involved in a local effort to help these people in need. So, on a sunny Sunday afternoon in April the crew volunteered at the Share the Harvest Farm in South Dartmouth. Share the Harvest farm, located on land at the Dartmouth YMCA, uses volunteer labor and donations to raise produce for distribution to food pantries from Fall River to Wareham.
During a tour of the well-ordered farm, the crew -- led by a dedicated University of Massachusetts Dartmouth community service intern -- learned that the farm grew 43,000 pounds of different produce last year, and it has now started growing fruit trees and berries.
The church volunteers' first job was planting squash and cucumber seeds in cell packs which were placed in the green house. Then they moved on to transplanting lettuce in two long rows. All told the farm crew planted about 1750 squash and cucumber seeds and around 500 lettuce seedlings. With God's help those seeds have become food for the needy.
Since that first volunteer opportunity in April, the Farm Crew has followed the phases of the growing season and added some more helping hands from the church. In May the expanded crew transplanted squash and cucumber plants and onions out into the warm soil of the fields. In June, tomato and eggplant seedlings joined the squash and cucumber plants.
By July the squash and cucumber plants yielded some 1000 pounds of vegetables, which the crew helped pick and put in crates for transport to various food banks.
This past August, the crew helped pick hot weather crops, tomatoes, green peppers, and eggplants. The church's youngest farmer, Ariana (age 6), can say from first hand experience that the tomatoes are delicious.
"So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up." - Galatians 6:9.
For more information, you can contact church pastor, Rev. Stan Duncan, Interim Minister at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Medicke, Rich; "The War on Hunger", New Bedford Standard Times, March 19, 2013.
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