Share the Harvest Community Farm
Share the Harvest is a community farm run by volunteers. It was established in 2015 as a grassroots effort to alleviate hunger for children and families throughout Cabarrus County.
According to the 2016 Cabarrus County Environmental Health Assessment created by Cabarrus Health Alliance and Healthy Cabarrus, there are seven food deserts in Cabarrus County. We are one of only 15 counties in North Carolina (of 57) with four or more food deserts. This is significant because it means that residents living in these areas have poor access to fresh produce and may rely on local corner stores and fast food establishments, which often lack diverse food of good nutritional quality.
The Share the Harvest Community Farm is a collaboration between the Cannon YMCA, McGill Baptist Church, Cooperative Christian Ministry, Concord First Assembly, Operation Breadbasket and Freedom Christian Worship Center. Click on the infographic to see more of the farm's impact.
The fields serve as an outdoor learning center for school children, campers, business people and residents who visit and work on the farm. In 2016 and 2017, students chose to incorporate the Farm into class projects. Our resident Atrium Health Registered Dietitian hosts cooking tutorials to educate the community about healthy ways to prepare the produce.
Group Volunteer Days
Organizing a volunteer day for your church, business or community organization not only has a positive impact on the lives of children in your community, but it also has a positive impact on those volunteering. The Farm provides the perfect opportunity for people of all ages to learn about farming, participate in a community building project from the ground up, and help hundreds of families in need. Click here to see available dates.
Recent Farm Blog Post
Thanks to YOUR support, the Share the Harvest Community Farm has harvested and donated almost 5,000 pounds of fresh produce to our community this year. With 154 volunteers working 592.5 hours together, we’ve harvested 4,967.3 pounds of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, watermelons, two kinds of squash, green beans, peppers and lettuce! And we’re not done yet…sweet potatoes are coming up beautifully and will be harvested on Saturday, September 15th.
|Total Pounds Donated|
|Goal for this season: 15,000 lbs.|
Afton Village and local residents daily pass a small vacant, unassuming parcel of land located just behind McGill Baptist Church at the corner of Poplar Tent Road and George Liles Parkway. They will soon do a double take as they see a host of community volunteers tending the two acres, yielding fresh potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, beans, onions and the like.
The Cannon YMCA held a ground breaking, Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 2:00 pm that featured a strong showing of community leaders, celebrating the initiative.
Not to be confused with the term “community garden”, “urban agriculture [farming] assumes a level of commerce, the growing of product to be sold [or donated] as opposed to being grown for personal consumption or sharing”. (http://www.greensgrow.org/urban-farm/what-is-urban-farming/) With proximity to the West Cabarrus branch of the Cannon Y, the urban farm speaks directly to the Y’s core priorities: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
According to regional and Cabarrus County need assessments, there is a demand for varietal fresh food options serving socioeconomically challenged populations.
There is not enough supply to meet current demand through existing food distribution pipelines.
Cannon Y president and CEO Ron Davis anticipates positive community impact from the project. “Not long ago, the Cannon Y board formed a Community Development Committee as a deliberate way to further our role as an impactful local partner. We looked to local need assessments and immediately saw a theme and an opportunity. Our passion is to see the Cabarrus community thrive through volunteerism, healthy living and associated educational opportunities. The more we investigated, the more we appreciated the community farm concept.”
With those priorities in mind, Davis and Y volunteers looked nationally to YMCA counterparts who had thriving urban farms. The search ended in Dartmouth, Massachusetts where the Southcoast YMCA has operated a model community farm for more than eight years. After months of planning, preparation and initial fund raising, the two acres are being cleared and a Share the Harvest Cabarrus Rowan groundbreaking is scheduled for October.
(YMCA Southcoast reference: http://www.ymcasouthcoast.org/Locations/Dartmouth/SharingtheHarvestCommunityFarm/tabid/245/Default.aspx