Monday, March 29, 2010

New Program Offers Volunteers a Chance to Learn Organic Farming

The Sisters of Charity of New York are launching a new volunteer opportunity at their Sisters Hill Farm in central Dutchess County, NY. For the first time, they are offering a volunteer week at their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) site in Stanfordville, NY, for those interested in learning about organic farming from the ground up (so to speak).

The volunteer week runs from Saturday, July 24 through Saturday, July 31. Room and board (meals) are provided. A day trip to New York City will be part of the experience. Volunteers are responsible for any travel expenses getting to and from the farm.

After working side-by-side with farmer Dave Hambleton and his two interns – planting, weeding and harvesting – volunteers will come away with a greater appreciation for the sacredness of the earth and learn about the values that may shape our planet’s future. In an average year, these three harvest 60,000 pounds of produce from five acres.

Volunteer qualifications
Men and women over the age of 18 are eligible to apply for this weeklong opportunity. No previous experience is necessary, although a strong interest in/appreciation for organic farming is expected. Candidates should be in good physical condition, able to bend, kneel, lift and work outside in the fields in the heat of a July day. They must be self-motivated, reliable and adaptable, and be ready, willing and able to get up early and get their hands dirty.

Volunteers will live on the farm and take meals with two nuns who are Earth Connections Consultants, including Sr. Mary Ann Garisto, SC, the Director of Ecological / Global Concerns for Sisters of Charity of New York, and the farm’s founder (in photo).

About the farm
Sisters Hill Farm is just one of the Congregation’s ecological ministries. The farm’s mission is "to grow healthy food which nurtures bodies, spirits, communities and the earth." It provides its 200 shareholders with nutritious, chemical-free, organic food at a reasonable cost between late May and early November.

In an average year, the farm grows more than 100 varieties of some 50 organic vegetables (no fruit), all chosen because of their superior taste and nutritional health. Its only “livestock” is a small flock of chickens. It is entering its 12th year of operation.

One of the farm's main goals is to share a portion of each week’s harvest with those in need in the local community, both directly to families and to soup kitchens and food pantries.

For more information
Contact Sr. Mary Katherine Hamm, SC, the Director of Volunteer Services for the Sisters of Charity of New York.

- Call: 718.549.9200 x 264
- email:
- write: Sisters of Charity Center / 6301 Riverdale Ave. / Bronx, NY 10471-1093

You can learn more about the farm and the Sisters at

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