A herculean effort at a small farm in South Windsor last summer yielded over 28,000 pounds of vegetables which were donated to Foodshare, a regional food bank.
The farm’s 2011 output was the result of over a thousand hours of volunteer work. Workers ranging in age from high school students to senior citizens convened at the farm four days each week, working two to three hours to plant and grow zucchini, squash, peppers, and eggplant. Varney Farm’s charitable output has increased year after year since 2007, its first official year of operation. The operation is run by Jim Varney, who is retired, and his wife Sandra.
Typical work at the farm included weeding, spreading fertilizer and lime, and eventually harvesting. “Harvesting was the most satisfying part,” said volunteer and high school student Kevin Smith. “It was great to see the tangible results of so many hours of weeding.”
The Varneys were recognized as “Local Heroes” by Bank of America last November, and were given a $5,000 check to present to Foodshare. They attended an award ceremony at the Bushnell in Hartford on November 22nd. “There are a lot of other people out there that are doing wonderful things for the community too, so it keeps you in your place,” said Sandra Varney. “I was very honored to be there, but I realize that there are a lot of people doing really good work.”
As they prepare for the 2012 planting season, the Varneys are still looking for volunteers. “It’s a challenge every year,” said Varney, “especially in the middle of summer when everybody’s going on vacations and wanting to do fun things. There’s still a lot of work to be done here, and so we’re always hoping to get word out that it’s a good volunteer opportunity and we’re happy to have anybody who wants to come.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can contact John Weedon, the Foodshare representative coordinating Varney Farm’s volunteer effort, at firstname.lastname@example.org.