“Many hands make light work” is a proverb that dates way back, first recorded in English in the 1300s. It’s one of my favorites, and one that proves itself time and again in the world of agriculture. Obviously, the more people available to help with a task, the less work is involved for each individual. But I think there’s more to it than that.

Working as a team also makes the task at hand more fun – lighter, somehow. And strangely enough, the gnarlier the job, the truer the adage! In the New Farmer Academy we call this “bonding through shared suffering” and it is an integral part of our team building agenda. Weeding all day in 90° heat, squishing bean beetle larvae, washing muddy tools in frigid temperatures, and removing smelly dead critters from work areas – all experiences our interns have had this year – are so much easier to deal with when you have others to complain to and laugh (or gag!) with.

We don’t expect quite that level of dedication from our volunteers, but the saying still holds true. At Old Trail Farm, we tend to save our biggest projects for days where many hands are available to assist. Last weekend we hosted a volunteer day at the farm to help us clean out our aquaponics tunnel, clear irrigation from the main garden, and spread wood chips in the garden paths. Hard work, for sure! But you’d never know it from all of the smiling, laughing faces.

Mulching garden paths.

 

Marcia, hamming it up!

 

Jenna and Jess, pulling up irrigation.

 

Phil and Mindy, rolling up header line.

 

Joe and Cindy – team work makes the dream work!

 

We are so very grateful to our volunteers – for their time, their labor, and most importantly, their camaraderie!

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