Volunteering to Learn

There are also opportunities to volunteer with nonprofit organizations working in gardening and farming operations. Volunteering is a good way to build your resume as well as learn more about gardening and farming. Some of these volunteer opportunities are listed below.

Farm Fresh RI

Website: https://www.farmfreshri.org

Phone: 401-312-4250

Farm Fresh RI’s mission is to grow a local food system that values the environment, health, and quality of life of the farmers and eaters in our region. They support farmers and farmers’ markets, nutrition education in schools and senior centers, and culinary training program for youth. They offer a variety of volunteer opportunities at farmers’ markets; in the youth culinary training program; with Market Mobile helping pack up local food for restaurants, schools, and other institutions; and general office support.

To register as a volunteer online, go to https://www.farmfreshri.org/support/volunteer/

Hope’s Harvest RI

Website: https://hopesharvest.org/

Hope’s Harvest volunteers rescue food from local farms that would otherwise go to waste and distributes it to local hunger relief agencies such as food pantries and soup kitchens. Last year volunteers harvested over 36,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. There is no required time commitment. You only go on trips that fit your schedule.

To register as a volunteer online, go to https://hopesharvest.org/ and click on ‘volunteer’.

What Cheer Flower Farm

Website: https://www.whatcheerfarm.org/

Phone: 401-830-0454

What Cheer grows and gives away flowers to hospital patients, seniors, homeless and families of victims, among other charities. The flower farm is located in Olneyville on the site of an old mill building. Volunteers work at the farm with weeding, planting, harvesting and field clean-up and also help with flower delivers if you have your own vehicle.

To register as a volunteer online, fill out the volunteer form at: https://www.whatcheerfarm.org/volunteer

Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT)

Website: https://www.southsideclt.org

SCLT is a wonderful community resource for learning about and doing gardening and farming. Their mission is to provide access to land, education and other resources so people in RI can grow food in environmentally sustainable ways. To bring healthy food to people with the least access to it, SCLT trains gardeners and farmers to grow food for their families and neighbors and provides inexpensive land and agricultural resources to help them to do it. Below are some of the programs they offer.

  • Community Farms: SCLT own or support 52 community farms in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls. Individuals and families can rent space to garden at these farms. To see a map of SCLT community farms and sign up for on the wait list, go to: https://www.southsideclt.org/community-gardens/
  • Farmer Training Workshops: SCLT provides a variety of hands-on farmer training workshops and technical assistance for beginning vegetable farmers. Each year they publish a calendar of workshops.
  • On-farm apprenticeships: Apprentices train full-time at one of five host farms and are funded for seven months each season (spring through fall). The apprentice program combines in-depth farm skills from farm mentors with tours, classes and network-building opportunities. Apprentices complete the program with not only technical skills, but a broader understanding of farm conditions and connections to resources needed to begin a farming career.
  • Urban Agriculture support: In the spring, SCLT offers free seeds and organic compost to urban gardeners as well as a plant sale that includes vegetable plants.

For more information about these and other programs, see https://www.southsideclt.org

Providence Neighborhood Planting Program (PNPP)

Website: https://pnpp.org/         Phone: (401) 368-5380            Email: info@pnpp.org

The Providence Neighborhood Planting Program is a street tree planting partnership between the Mary Elizabeth Sharpe Providence Neighborhood Planting Program Fund, the City of Providence, and the residents of Providence. Their mission is to plant, steward, and advocate for trees in Providence. They do this by providing free street trees to Providence residents through the Neighborhood Street Tree Planting Awards, by training and empowering people to become Providence Community Tree Keepers, and by fostering engagement with our Urban Forest.

The Providence Community Tree Keepers program provides technical training on pruning and stewarding of young trees to residents who already have a basic understanding of gardening/plant biology or who have participated in tree planting/stewardship efforts before. It is a terrific opportunity to engage further with our urban forest and become a leader in the Providence tree community! Volunteers who complete the program are authorized to prune and maintain young city street & park trees, in accordance with PCTK policies and guidelines.