“Come one, come all, volunteer at Fairgate Community Farm in Stamford, CT. Turn the soil, pull the weeds, plant the seeds, and watch them grow. Feel a sense of togetherness, as you watch the veggies and fruits bloom, then feast upon the labor of your hands and become healthier as the days go by, from eating organically grown plants, nourished by your own hands. Thank you Fairgate Farm for giving me free organically grown foods for healthy living.”

– Agnes Roberts

Volunteering at Fairgate Farm FAQs

What’s It Like to Volunteer at Fairgate Farm? Farm Manager Pete Novajosky has answers to frequently asked questions. 

What is it like to volunteer at Fairgate Farm?

We try to make the experience as rich and rewarding as we can. What people do depends on what the Farm needs. Early in the season we are preparing the fields, turning over the soil and planting. During the season we are weeding, cultivating, watering and harvesting our plants. We’re also composting, having special events, making signs – there is a lot to do!

What sort of people volunteer at Fairgate Farm?

Many different kinds of people volunteer at Fairgate. We have a large cohort of young people in their late teens, 20s and 30s, plus many who are in their 50s and 60s. We have “mom’s groups,” corporate teams, community service groups, people from organizations like Future 5, the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club. We love anyone and everyone who volunteers at the Farm!

What is the time commitment involved in volunteering at Fairgate Farm?

We have some one-time volunteers but, honestly, it’s not the best experience for them or for us. You can come one time and do some weeding or planting but the more valuable and rewarding experiences come once you’ve gotten to know the Farm. Whether you come one or several days a week, making a commitment to regular volunteering is best for all. The more people come regularly, the more work gets done and the more satisfied people are with the experience.

How long do volunteers stay each time?

It’s great to make a weekly commitment of one or two hours – or more, if you’d like. That’s enough time to build on the experiences and learning from the previous week and so that you will spend some time planting and some time composting. If you’re here that often, you’ll understand the Farm and have an overall picture of our operation and your impact.

Do all volunteers do the same tasks?

The more often you come and the more you learn, the more freedom I have to let you go and do what you like and are good at. One time we had a volunteer who couldn’t distinguish between lettuce we’d been working hard to grow and a very common weed – we lost two rows that day! So we need to make sure you know what you are doing. But then, if you’ve shown me that you are an incredible pruner of tomatoes, I can hand that task over to you and do something else. 

Do you ever need volunteers for special events?

Definitely. We have lots of things going on in the season, from our Strawberry Festival in June to our Harvest Festival in October. We need people to help with setups, children’s activities, giving tours, passing out food samples and more. We have Wednesday night activities all summer, too, including nutrition classes and workshops for pickling, juicing and making ketchup and mustard – plus we have yoga classes and also plan to do some poetry and open-mic nights.

Can children volunteer at Fairgate?

Kids are welcome to come along! If a child comes along with an adult who can supervise, I am happy to give them the same tasks I’d give anyone else. I have found that they do as good a job as grown-ups. We also have some really fun tasks, like making signs for our gardens.

Is there an instructional session or orientation for volunteers?

Every Saturday morning, May through mid-September, we do a “Fairgate Farm 101” session from 8 to 9 am. It’s great if you can come to that and it’s fine to just show up if you want to see what it’s like. If you can’t come to one of the Saturday morning sessions, it’s a good idea to give me a call so we can schedule a time for me to show you around. I want to make sure you have a good experience so you’ll come back – but if you just come by at a time when I’ve got 55 kids from a local grade school touring the farm, I can’t take the time to do that.

What do volunteers take home?

The answer to that depends on what’s in season. In the spring and early summer, we don’t have much food to harvest but people can take home plants and seeds. We also share top soil and compost. In season, we always have several varieties of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and on and on. We have berries early in the summer and we now have figs, peaches, blueberries and even some apple trees. We’ll have honey this year, too, and fresh flowers. Plus herbs – we always have lots of herbs.

What are the benefits of volunteering at Fairgate Farm?

There are so many! An obvious one is that our volunteers share in our harvest, taking home fresh-picked fruit and vegetables during the season, along with plants, seeds, topsoil and rich compost for their own gardens. Our volunteers learn about farming, get lots of exercise, enjoy the companionship of other volunteers and go home, usually tired and happy, knowing they’ve made an important contribution to our community.

What skills do volunteers need?

We’ll teach you everything you need to know. 

Where can I learn more about volunteering at Fairgate Farm?

Call 203.940.2305 or email FairgateFarm [at] gmail.com or you can stop by during open hours and if I’m free, I’ll be happy to talk to you then. If not, we can make arrangements to get together at another time.