Three years ago Jessica Twining moved to Binghamton from Buffalo, where she volunteered on an urban farm. Looking for a similar connection to local food and her new community, Jessica did what most of us would do in this day and age. She did an internet search, which sent her to VINES – and we are very lucky that it did! “When you are able to actually partner with the people who are growing your food that gives it even more value,” Jessica tells us, “there is a powerful connection there.” She and her daughter, Leta, have been volunteering on the Binghamton Urban Farm now for the past two growing seasons and are looking forward to coming again this year, when it’s safe to do so.
Initially, Jessica was involved with VINES as a Farm Share member but when her daughter was born she was able to do more hands-on volunteering. Leta has been part of the VINES Urban Farm volunteers since she was five months old. “Now that I have my two-year-old, I want her to know where her food comes from, to see things grow and play outside in the dirt and meet a wide variety of people,” says Jessica. Being a VINES volunteer gives the opportunity for just that.
Jessica says that Leta loves to be outside, active and helping out on the farm. She recalls last year when there was a large pile of compost that volunteers were moving into the new beds. Leta had her little trowel out, shoveling piles and moving them into the beds right along with the others. She also helps to harvest vegetables for VINES Farm Shares and the Downtown Courtyard Farmer’s Market.
“I’ve learned the value of community, ultimately, through my volunteering time,” Jessica says. “To go back and see the same faces every week and to build those relationships, as someone who moved here, it’s a nice way to start to feel like this is my area – that I belong here.”
Volunteer opportunities are slowly starting to open up at VINES. We’d love to have you sign up to help, too. Please check your email or our Facebook page weekly for opportunities.