How to Create a Sense of Community During COVID-19: Navigating Successful Methods of Volunteering at Cornerstone Community Farm

Primary Author

Meredith Wheeler

Additional Author(s)

Nicole Anderson Ellis, John Jones

Faculty Mentor

John Jones

Additional Mentor(s)

Nicole Anderson Ellis

Abstract

This research project will expand iCubed’s initiative of sustainable food access to the regional realm by bridging VCU’s Service Learning volunteers and Cornerstone Community Farm in the food-insecure East End of Henrico. In the fall of 2019, Cornerstone Community Farm partnered with VCU’s Sustainable Food Access Core of iCubed. The VCU iCubed Core Team is committed to improving access to healthy food in the Richmond region and believes that Cornerstone Community Farm, given its current infrastructural capacity and secure land tenure is an ideal site to advance this goal. This collaboration seeks to offer Fairfield families and neighbors low-cost access to fresh produce. The purpose of this fellowship is to Facilitate Successful Use of Volunteers during COVID-19 in a manner that reciprocates value and impact. Methods for conducting this include researching previous volunteer procedures, assess the volunteer systems being used by our ally groups, strengthen lines of communication between Cornerstone and community members, and collaborating with a diverse group of stakeholders. Success is evidenced by the establishment of scheduling tools for use by partners in advance of workdays; implementation of a task board; creation of documents on best practices ready; reviving dormant social media to promote volunteer opportunities; and recognizing a primary shift in recurring volunteers, creating a sense of ownership that wasn’t previously cultivated.

Presentation

1 thought on “How to Create a Sense of Community During COVID-19: Navigating Successful Methods of Volunteering at Cornerstone Community Farm”

  1. Really proud of your adaptations during the pandemic, Meredith! This is important work with positive impact on the local community. I truly appreciated your thoughts on volunteerism and community engagement. Congrats on your project and excellent presentation!

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