A great experience
The covid pandemic has seen many people's lives completely turned upside down. Norwich FarmShare has seen a big increase in people enquiring about volunteering and it's been great to meet so many people who have been keen to get involved in the farm work, learn new skills, get outside and enjoy some fresh air during lockdown and meet other people at a time when many people have felt isolated.
Ben has been volunteering for over a year but like many people has had more time to spare due to the pandemic and his weeding attention has benefitted the farm immensely. Having regular volunteers at the farm who can share observations and make suggestions about how to improve our systems is very helpful. And as you'll hear from Ben's comments the benefits for our volunteers are rich and varied too.
"My experience volunteering at Norwich Farmshare has been great. There is so much to learn about, from sowing to planting & harvesting, and looking after the soil – composting, mulching...; when, how to water effectively and the delights of watering systems; different varieties of veg.; weed control, identification (perennial or annual?), something I have taken particular pleasure in, along with all the wildlife, pests included. It has been a wonderful summer, in particular being able to identify the sound of the many local gold finches; thanks Joel for pointing out how distinctive they are. I also enjoy the cycle ride there, particularly along Whitlingham Broad which is always so beautiful whatever the weather (part of the Sustrans N1 cycle route from John o’Groats to Dover). And there is also the wonderful company of a great group of volunteers; I always enjoy the conversation over lunch. Also, being able to take home your own freshly picked salad and vegetables is a real treat, and sometimes you get to enjoy a few things before what is picked for all the members as it may take a further week or so for there to be sufficient for everyone, and the first vegetables can get overly big/tough/go to flower... if left or a crop has not produced enough. Norwich Farmshare has been an amazing find for me, and in the lockdown it has been an absolute godsend providing me with twice weekly exercise, fantastic food and excellent company. My only regret was that we weren’t able to have a (weekly/monthly?) feedback session; I would have enjoyed hearing people’s suggestions having had direct experience of working on the farm, or just passing on useful tips like how the wire hoops can be used to hold down the covers, or the importance of shaking the soil from weeds etc. onto the beds, or the use of a tall pot/extra little container (within the larger container used for collecting weeds etc.) for collecting bits of rubbish, weed seeds… stuff not for the compost. One day, when there is more time free, & I am assured we will be mainly just sowing/planting out, hoeing and harvesting. My heartfelt admiration to all who have helped make it possible."
If you'd like to volunteer with Norwich FarmShare then please get in touch by emailing Joel at firstname.lastname@example.org. The times and guidelines for volunteering have changed due to the pandemic and Joel will give you all the details.