September is always hectic for Holy Cross students. Between moving back in and readjusting to campus life and classes, it is easy to feel like you haven’t had a moment of quiet since the summer. Because of this, I was excited to leave campus and spend time outside at the Community Harvest Project in Grafton. The Community Harvest Project is a non-profit farm that provides fruits and vegetables for the Worcester Food Bank to serve those experiencing food insecurity. Because food pantries often lack healthy, fresh foods, CHP provides families and individuals with the items that can fully nourish the body. Volunteers help sustain the farm and the project by harvesting and sorting the crops.
I visited CHP with a group of students from three different CBL courses studying food injustices or the environment (“Environmental Science,” “I Am, Therefore I Eat,” and “Food, Poverty, and Justice.” We all had a lot of fun picking cherry tomatoes and spending time outside together talking. After just three hours we harvested 675 pounds of tomatoes, or 2,025 servings, and countless squash. By the end of our time I think we were all pretty exhausted and sore from bending over picking the crops.
As my back began to hurt and my fingers sting as I picked the tomatoes, I began to think about the experience of a migrant farm worker. Their days under the sun stretch for much longer than my three hour shift that left me exhausted and sore. Although I enjoyed the silence of the field I realized that this silence could actually be deafening to migrant farm workers each day. Living in a new country, working in harsh conditions, and living life in the shadows would leave anyone with an endless stream of thoughts in their mind. Although I have learned about migrant farm workers before in various classes, it was not until I was crouched over picking tomatoes under the sun that I glimpsed into their reality.
I really enjoyed my time at the Community Harvest Project. After talking to many first year students about life at Holy Cross it suddenly set in that this is my last year here. Although I am excited for the future, I can’t help but feel sad about leaving this school that has become my home for the past four years. As I bent over in the field, I realized how grateful I am to have learned so much these past four years both inside and outside of the classroom through CBL.