Volunteering Q&A

How can I volunteer at the garden? Signing up for our E-newsletter is the best way to keep up with public volunteer times, our SPROUTS program for children ages 3 – 8 and their parents, and any special volunteer needs.

Regular Volunteer Work Times: Wednesday evenings from 6:00pm – 8:00pm individuals and families can just show up.

Are there volunteer opportunities outside the garden? YES. We’re glad you asked.

Actually, there are more opportunities outside the garden than in the soil and we’re thrilled to talk through the possibilities with you. We can nearly always take most people’s passions and talents and weave them into the larger vision of TLA. From playing an instrument on a Wednesday work night to starting a project on the property, we are open to talking about anything that fits within our mission. Artists, craftspeople, musicians, nutritionists, people who love to cook, photographers, computer savvy folks, history buffs, carpenters / builders, small engine repair persons, grant writers, and committee members. If you don’t see yourself here that’s because the list of possibilities is just too long.

Do I need to sign up in advance? Yes and no. Groups of from 5 – 20 people must schedule private volunteer times. Contact us at susan@thelordsacre.org. Regular, weekly volunteer times are in place during the growing season for individuals. These are typically Wednesday nights between 6:00 – 8:00 and again one morning a week. Days and times for regular weekly volunteer times are listed on our website and through our newsletter.

Can groups volunteer?  Groups must contact us at susan@thelordsacre.org to schedule work times. Group size is limited. We are a small farm with limited facilities. Please respect these limits.

Can children volunteer? Yes. Children under 16 years of age MUST be accompanied and supervised by an adult. That adult is responsible for the child’s safety.

Can I bring a school group? Yes. Groups must contact us
at thelordsacre@gmail.com to schedule work times. Group size is limited. The younger the children, the smaller the groups we can accommodate. We are a small farm with limited facilities.  Please respect these limits.

Can I do community service at TLA for a school requirement or project? Yes. We’ve had many people fulfill their service requirements at the garden. You can either attend regularly scheduled volunteer times or contact us at susan@thelordsacre.org to discuss other options.

What do volunteers do? That changes weekly and depends on the season, the weather and how many volunteers we’ve had. We try to provide a selection of work possibilities for people to choose from. Typical volunteer work includes hoeing, hand weeding, digging beds, planting seeds or starts, taking out old crops, harvesting and more.

What is the work like? We tend to tailor the work to the age and skill of those who volunteer and try to provide a selection of choices for people to choose from. So whether you feel like pushing wheelbarrows or thinning carrots, we can always find something for everyone.

Who volunteers? People of all ages and abilities, individuals, families, and groups. That said, if you have difficulty walking, moving and bending it would be best to contact the garden manager ahead of time to make sure appropriate work will be available. We are hoping to add a horticultural therapy section in the future.

How old do you need to be to volunteer? Anyone can volunteer but children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent. Exceptions are possible under certain circumstances. Very young children do best attending the SPROUTS program but are welcome during regular volunteer times if parents assume full responsibility for their safety and their actions.

What should we wear? Check the weather and dress appropriately! Wear closed – toed shoes and clothes that can (and will) get dirty. You may also want to wear sunscreen.

What should we bring? You don’t need to bring anything but some folks bring drinks, snacks, a hat, gloves, sunscreen and insect repellent.

What if it rains? Call the garden manager  Susan 828-628-3688 to find out what the weather is like at the garden. It may be very different from where you are. If it rains heavily the day before or right up until work time, we may also have to cancel if the soil is too wet to work. Those who sign up as regular Wednesday night or Tuesday morning volunteers will get an email or text if we have to cancel.

What does TLA provide? Drinking water, a porta john, tools, some gloves and hats, the ability to ask garden questions, great folks to work with and meaningful work in a beautiful garden.

Can I bring my pet? No, we’re sorry. We love pets but unless they remain in your vehicle, they must stay at home.

Do I need to make an ongoing commitment? No, not unless you are an intern or a commuter intern.

Does TLA accommodate volunteers with disabilities? We try but we are not set up to do this on a regular basis or with groups. We are working towards having part of the property under the care of a horticultural therapist so we can better accommodate disabilities.

What if I need to cancel? If you are the contact person for a group, please contact us as soon as possible. It often takes a great deal of work to set up for a group and the sooner we know, the easier it is on us. susan@thelordsacre.org or call (828-628-3688)

What if I have more questions? You can email the garden manager at susan@thelordsacre.org or call (828-628-3688).

Where are you located? At 26 Joe Jenkins Road in Fairview, NC 28730. We’re just off Hwy 74-A East (Charlotte Hwy). As you turn onto Joe Jenkins you will quickly see a kiosk and scarecrow on your left, pointing you to drive through the field and towards the garden.

How can I learn more about gardening? We recommend our favorite books and links in our resources section and offer classes throughout the year. Regular volunteer times are also a great opportunity to ask questions of the interns and the garden manager as you engage in hands-on work.

How can I use my gardening skills and knowledge at TLA? We are always looking for experienced gardeners who would like to share their gifts. Contact us about leadership roles, leading a workshop or anything else you feel inspired to contribute.

I’ve heard you have potlucks. Yes. Wednesday night potlucks after work night are held on the first Wednesday night of the month from May – September starting at 8:00 pm. Please bring enough to share with fifteen people.

GROUP VOLUNTEERING For complete details on group volunteering go here.

Please read the Q & A above. Below are additional questions groups might have:

Can groups volunteer? Yes. Groups must contact us at susan@thelordsacre.org to schedule work times. Group size is limited to around 20 people. If you are just over that, you can contact us to discuss. We are a small garden with limited facilities. Please respect these limits. They allow us to give each person a quality experience while also safeguarding the crops.

Can I bring a school group? Yes. Groups must contact us at susan@thelordsacre.org to schedule work times. Group size is limited. The younger the children, the smaller the groups we can accommodate. We are a small farm with limited facilities. Please respect these limits. They allow us to give each person a quality experience while also safeguarding the crops.

What is the work like? We tend to tailor the work to the age and skill of those who volunteer and try to provide a selection of choices for people to choose from. So whether you feel like pushing wheelbarrows or thinning carrots, we can always find something for everyone.

What else do we do while we’re there? We typically start out with a few minutes of meet and greet and telling you a little about our history and what we do. Then we take a short tour so you know where everything is and what’s up. Finally, we work. Afterwards, if there’s time, we like to leave fifteen minutes or so for a reflection time. So in a 2 hour visit, you would work about an hour and a half. In a three hour work time, you would work about 2 hours and fifteen minutes.

Will we work in the morning or the afternoon? You can do either. Contact us to see what time of day works best for us on a specific date.

What days are available for groups? That depends on the time of day you want to come. Some days we are doing certain jobs or going on field trips and cannot accommodate volunteers. Contact us to determine what days we can accommodate your group.

Can we bring snacks or lunch? Yes. We’d love for you to enjoy eating under our hickory tree after your morning in the garden.

Specific to groups:
1. Once you tell us about how many folks you’re bringing, we believe you and often work many hours to prepare for you. If most of your group decides to sleep in that day, we may be left with work we have to finish after you leave. Please stress to your group how important it is to show up if they’ve committed.
2. Once you’ve gotten a set date from us to volunteer, access the safety policy from our website and have everyone read it or read it out loud to the entire group. Then have all adults sign the back of the form. Please bring it with you to the garden.
3. We’re sorry but we can’t schedule work on Sundays. The hardworking gardeners you’ll meet need a day of rest.