By Katie Demeria
The Volunteer Farm in Woodstock is asking local residents and organizations to help harvest what farm CEO Bob Blair calls a "bountiful crop" over the next few weeks.
"We're in a situation now where it's not so much the number [of total volunteers] as it is the timing," Blair said.
In a few weeks, he added, the number of registered volunteers picks up again. But throughout the end of August and into September, the numbers are down.
"Parents are worried about getting their kids ready to go back to school, and the next two weeks especially are going to be kind of touch and go for us," he said.
"We have a lot of beans, for example, that need to be picked, 20 rows of beans," Blair continued. "It's just a lot to be done in a short time frame."
The request for volunteers, according to Blair, usually works, and local individuals generally respond well to the need. He said the farm, located at 277 Crider Lane, has had around 800 volunteers visit the property this year.
"If we can get the word out that they're needed now, they'll show up," he said.
Other than beans, the farm has zucchini and squash that need to be harvested, as well as some tomatoes and peppers.
Within the next two weeks the amount that needs to be harvested greatly exceeds the number of volunteers registered to arrive at the farm.
"We could be harvesting a ton a day if we had the help," he said.
The produce would certainly not go to waste, he added, due to the need in local communities for fresh fruits and vegetables.
"That's why we're hollering," Blair said.
Typically, many volunteers will work from 8 a.m. until around noon. But a great deal of work can be done in four hours, according to Blair.
"And we're hoping to get church mission teams out here, with 30 or 40 people that can do an awful lot of work in a four-hour period," Blair said.
Larger groups are asked to register online before arriving at the farm to help, but individuals or families are more than welcome to come without registering, so long as they do so in the morning hours.
Even just two hours of volunteering can make a difference, Blair said.
While the call for volunteers is focused largely on the next two weeks, Blair said the farm is going to be harvesting a great deal over the next several months, so anyone willing to help will have something to do.
"We will be going continuously from now until the first freeze, which is normally about the middle of November," Blair said.
To volunteer, visit http://www.volunteerfarm.org or call 540-459-3478.
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org