The Benefits of Volunteering at America’s Grow-a-Row

Each year, America’s Grow-a-Row hosts around 10,000 volunteers across our four farm locations in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

Image Benefits of Volunteering with Americas Grow a Row

By Erin Witherspoon, Senior Manager of Development and Marketing

Each year, America’s Grow-a-Row hosts around 10,000 volunteers across our four farm locations in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. The volunteer groups who arrive each morning represent large corporations, locally owned businesses, community groups, students, retirees, and more. Our volunteers span all backgrounds, travel from nearby states, and have different levels of exposure to the realities of food insecurity – some volunteers even receive the produce that we grow through our partners including United Way. Off the fields as individuals, these volunteers may have little in common, but when they all arrive at our farm in the morning, they are given the same goal for the day: work together to harvest the produce that will be donated to people struggling with hunger.

Before heading out into the fields, volunteers hear our story about our humble beginnings as a small father-daughter gardening project and how we have grown to become a well-respected, 420+ acre farm. Volunteers learn about the harsh realities of hunger and food insecurity in New Jersey and what we’re doing as a farm to address it through growing and gleaning produce, and providing culinary, nutrition, and farming education. Our program team will show our volunteers the produce that they’re working with for the day and how to harvest it to make the best use of their time in the fields. For many volunteers, it’s their first time visiting a farm and learning how to harvest a particular type of produce. After the harvest event, we often hear our volunteers say:

“I feel so good about what we were able to accomplish today as a group.”

“I appreciate farmers and the work they do so much more after today.”

“I didn’t expect to work as hard as we did, but it is so rewarding!” 

We all know the perception that volunteering is the right thing to do, but did you know there are real benefits of volunteering?

  1. It provides us with a sense of purpose and responsibility as we work together to put servings of fresh, nutritious produce onto the plates of people who need it most.
  2. It teaches us valuable, practical skills that can be used outside of the farm.
  3. It provides us with insight into the realities of food insecurity for many families, often changing our perspectives about people who are struggling. As volunteers, we learn more about the complexities of hunger and how it affects someone’s entire wellbeing.
  4. It helps us build our support system encouraging us to interact with friends and coworkers in a different, meaningful way.

“My eyes were opened to how many live without the benefits of fresh produce. The organization’s team was incredibly supportive and informative with our group. Really amazing how one person can make such a beautiful difference.”

According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, it has a positive effect on both our physical and mental health, too! Research shows that volunteering can lead to lower rates of depression and anxiety, especially for people 65 and older.1  Volunteering with us involves physical labor, providing a healthy and active way to contribute to our mission while reducing your stress level.

Regardless of who you come with or where you come from to volunteer with us, you’ll leave our farm feeling great about the impact that you on have people struggling with hunger. To get involved with us this year, visit

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