5 Things I Learned from my First Gleaners Experience
by Kristin McGovern
When I received last week’s Gleaning Opportunities email (if you haven’t already signed up – you can do so by clicking here), I saw that it was going to be a Saturday gleaning (perfect!) for 3 hours in the morning. They only needed 6 people for this opportunity so I signed up right away (the signup filled quickly – but you can always email to see if they can take more volunteers).
On Saturday, I went to Brookwood Farm, a DCR property in Canton at the base of the Blue Hills reservation. This is an organic farm that offers a CSA to local folks. They contacted Gleaners because they had 3 crops to be gleaned – spinach, lettuce and broccoli leaves.
My time at the farm was amazing, and I wanted to share with you five things that I learned:
- Gleaning is hard but rewarding work. They tell you this when you sign up, but I do want to reiterate the hard work part. It is a lot of bending and/or kneeling. If you have back issues or knee challenges, talk to/email the coordinator and see if there are any accommodations that they recommend. But there is an incredible feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment when you are working – and when you are done!
- Be prepared to get REALLY dirty. Again, no duh, right? But really – at least for our session we didn’t wear gloves and we were kneeling in soft, wet (beautiful!) soil. So what does “be prepared” mean?
- Wear junky pants (long pants are required – no shorts) that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Wear sneakers and socks that you don’t care about. Or waterproof closed-toed shoes that are comfortable.
- Bring a towel to put on your car seat for when you drive home (whoops – thought of that as I was getting into my car to leave…)
- It will be HOT. “Boy, Captain Obvious, you are filled with blatantly crystal clear ‘advice’, aren’t you?” I know, but it bears repeating. As we enter the summer months, you will be in the sun for 3 hours – no shade. They DO have sunblock and bug spray (yay!) but bring a hat and sunglasses. And maybe skip the long-sleeved shirt (I was following what I thought were the rules – but turns out you CAN wear short sleeved shirts…). They have water but bring your own reusable bottle as well.
- Don’t be afraid to go alone. Many of these opportunities early in the season will be only for 6-8 people. But I can attest to the fact that you will meet some really great people. In my group, we had: a man from Australia who is at MGH for his residency, lives in Beacon Hill and took the Red Line AND rode his bike to get to Canton; a recent retiree who has been gleaning for 5 years and is so enthusiastic that she joined the Gleaner’s board; a woman from Needham (whom I didn’t know!) who found out about Gleaners by Googling something like “volunteer opportunities for farm waste”; and a newlywed young man who drives a delivery truck for Peapod and is passionate about farming. The guy on the far right is from Gleaners. It was a fascinating crew and you really get to know people while whacking away at lettuce heads ?.
- You will learn a lot! Here are just a few random things I learned:
- The farms need to be gleaned for various reasons but they are generally something like this: They must over-plant due to the uncertainties of farming; once they have determined their own needs they generally don’t have the time or labor to gather up the rest; if Gleaners didn’t come in, the crop would generally be plowed under. Sad but true!
- There are TONS of delicious greens and things that I had never thought of eating. One was broccoli leaves. They gave me a few to try – they were delicious! Another was carrot tops – who knew they make a great pesto?
- The reasons people volunteer vary greatly, but the one common theme is that everyone hates to see such beautiful food go to waste given hunger and poverty issues.
- The produce that is gleaned is gorgeous – the kind of thing you’d find at the farmer’s market. For example, the petite heads of lettuce – a variety of types – were so incredibly perfect! I found it reassuring that the produce donated wasn’t questionable.
- Volunteering for Gleaners is a fun, informative and fulfilling way to spend a few hours!
Interested in checking it out? Sign up to be a Gleaner by clicking here!
A LOCAL BENEFIT for MALAWI in a TIME of EXTREME DROUGHT
Wednesday, January 18th at 7pm
The United Parish of Auburndale
64 Hancock Street, Newton, MA
To power his family’s home, 14-year-old William Kamkwamba built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap — starting him on a journey detailed in the book and film “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.” The documentary “William and the Windmill” won the 2013 Documentary Feature Grand Jury Award at The SouthbySouthWest Arts Festival in Austin Texas. Kamkwamba has appeared twice on TED Talks.
William Kamkwambe has been invited to Newton on January 18th to raise awareness of life in Africa in the midst of extreme drought and to raise funds for K2 TASO, an NGO working to meet the needs of malnourished people of Malawi. A $50 donation at the door purchases a signed copy of “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” and supports relief efforts in Malawi.
“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t even have to make your subject and your verb agree… You only need a heart full of grace…a soul generated by love.” –MLK, Jr.
We are cooks, painters, pumpkin-haulers, teachers, and each of us, in our own unique way, reflect the compassion of Christ!
And we need your help, making a difference!
2016 USHERS and GREETERS
9:15 am HEAD USHER Duties
– Turn on all Narthex lights—wall switches on each side of arch toward
coat hangers—sconces, main light, recessed lights
– Unlock Narthex side door— key is in the sideboard drawer with an orange keytag. Turn key to 3:00 with Click, back to 12:00 and remove.
– The Bulletins will be on the table in the front of the sanctuary. Place 20 Bulletins on the small table near Rainbow flag entrance.
– Crayons are available for the children. (They might be on the small table near the exit towards coffee hour if they did not get returned after the previous service.)
– Place the bulletins on a chair by the Narthex entrance until someone is there to hand them out.
– Open windows along each side of Sanctuary in hot weather.
– In winter as needed–shovel and salt front steps and walk.
– Sweep steps if salty, sandy, leafy etc.
Ceiling Fans. Use only in winter to distribute heat. Switch is located near light switches on the front, right of altar. Turn “On” clockwise all the way to find low fan speed. Don’t adjust the thermostat.
Altar light switches are:
1) on wall far right of altar
2) near curtain edge, right of Altar Cross
Main Sanc. light switches are in wall panel in Sound/Lights closet
(in hallway behind altar to right of photo wall): 5 switches– 4 low, 1 upper.
Hearing devices. These are in the sideboard in the Narthex. Place them on top of the sideboard along with the sign-out book.
Large print and Braille hymnal: Be sure it is in the back of the church and available.
Post Hymn numbers on two Hymn boards. Numbers are located on the wooden cabinet near the audio cabinet behind sanctuary. Stepladder is in children’s choir robe closet across from photo wall. Hymns are listed in Bulletin.
Turn on Sound System by switching red tag to lit position.
Assign one usher to stand at the front of the church, to welcome people there and hand them bulletins.
Light two glass candles used in procession. If two young volunteers are willing, invite them to carry these candles to the front when worship leaders process during opening prelude. If no children are present/willing, worship leaders will carry the lights.
DURING THE SERVICE
Attendance Count. Book is in Narthex table. From organ loft, count everyone including choir, children, and ministers. Record date, # attending and weather.
The Offering. With two Regular Ushers (4 all together)
– Go forward 2 by 2 on Minister’s cue.
– Minister hands plates to Ushers who are lined up in a row of 4 across.
– Regular Ushers pass plates in from the center aisle; Head Ushers pass in from the outside aisles. Keep pace with Usher opposite you.
– When Doxology begins, go forth in same 2 by 2 formation.
– Remain up front during Dedication Prayer, and then return to seats by center aisle.
– Collect large print hymnal and return it to the back of the church.
– Put Hearing Devices back in sideboard.
– Check that Altar candles are out using brass lighters.
– Turn off fans by turning knob counterclockwise to a click.
– Turn off Altar lights with switches near right curtain edge and behind old organ
– Close windows if open.
– Turn-off sound system.
– Turn off Sanctuary lights from Sound/Lights closet-5 switches.
– Lock Narthex side door—insert key, pull the door in, turn key to 9:00 with Click, return to 12:00 and remove key. PLEASE CHECK THE DOOR FROM THE OUTSIDE TO BE SURE IT IS LOCKED. (It may seem to be locked from the inside.)
– Lock front door—press in lower button on jamb and close firmly.
– Turn off all Narthex lights (all three rooms)