Celebrating our wonderful volunteers

Quite simply, Operation Farm couldn’t run all our exciting events and workshops, without the help of an army of volunteers.

In this blog post we want to celebrate and thank 3 special ladies, who have collectively clocked up 18 years of volunteering with Operation Farm #WOW.

Here’s their stories:


A friend of Ali’s, Joan was first introduced to the allotment over 5 years ago; she’s since tried her hand at every Operation Farm activity, event and workshop; here’s what she had to say about volunteering at Operation Farm

I wanted to Volunteer for a Community group, I like the way Operation Farm works with the Community in the form of bringing people together with growing, cooking and having fun.  I’ve volunteered now for over five years at most community events, cooking and working with children, helping to get children outside more. I love to be involved in community events, to have positive interaction with people, to promote the great outdoors for children and all families.

I was talking to Ali about how volunteering with this kind of project is good for your mental health and I would recommend it to anyone who’s struggling. Being outdoors with others releases the good things in your brain, it keeps you focused and gives you a great feeling of achievement.

In the future I would like to do more cooking workshops with children; I’ve really loved this and of course to carry on with community events. I really see a positive future with the Young Operation Farmers, I’ve talked to neighbours and had a really good think about what we can do – it really gets me excited !!

Check out this slideshow – it shows the amount of things Joan has been involved in over the years

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Cheers Joan, thanks for all your hard work in supporting us, for your wicked sense of humour and your lovely lemon cake. Let’s hope your ideas about the Young Farmers Project comes off in 2018 !!


Jen, a family friend of Rachel ‘s was first introduced to the allotment nearly 5 years ago; here’s her story:

I’m a family friend of Rachel’s, she said we (Op Farm) have an allotment, are you interested in coming along, there are other people here you’ll like. Plus I’d retired. Rachel knew me and thought I’d like it because I’m a Farmer’s daughter. It’s nearly 5 years – I know this by counting up all the Christmas parties I’ve done!
I make cakes for our breaks, I water the allotment on other days of the week, when no one is here. Recently, I helped put up the polytunnel, which took two days. I help at events. I’ve made jam, cider, apple pies in Werneth House, help run the allotment and maintain it. Whenever I am needed, I am there!
Some of the best things about volunteering is the fun we have with the rest of the volunteers. I love eating the harvest, nothing goes to waste. Also that sense of doing something to help the community as it helps me get out and meet new people
I’d really like to know that all is still going to be there in the future. I like the allotment and I really like the cookery sessions – it’s all very important to me.

Here’s Jen’s slideshow – what a grafter!

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Thanks for all your help Jen, for all your yummy cakes – especially the chocolate & beetroot brownies – and for always being the last to stay to ‘muck-in’ what a trooper!


Ali’s Mum, Barbara has volunteered with us since day one – that’s 8 Harvest Festivals and hundreds of events, workshops and parties – she’s certainly clocked up some #VegMiles!! Here’s her story

I was first attracted to volunteering at Operation Farm as I wanted to help a good cause, meet new people and I felt it was a good opportunity to share my knowledge of cooking, whilst also learning new skills. I’ve always been inspired by books and TV programmes – like River Cottage by Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall – the whole idea of working with fresh, local produce, really interests me.

I’ve been involved with Operation Farm since their very first Harvest Festival and I don’t think I’ve missed any outdoor events yet. There was the Bee of the Bandstand, where the sun shone, the music played and the food we made was really well received. I have to say though, the annual Harvest Festivals remains my favourite!

I really enjoy helping to cook and share what we make, like when we harvested cooking apples; we then made a special ‘apple day pancake’ it was delish. Just chatting to people who visit our stalls, helping them to understand how to use produce and to learn how to make good, healthy dishes from just a few ingredients.

After the bigger events and workshops, I go home and feel a real sense of achievement, it’s physically hard work though and you can bet that within 5 minutes of sitting on the settee I fall asleep!!

Operation Farm is really important to me and in the future I want to carry on doing all that we have done in the past, especially with the young children; helping them to cook and eat is really rewarding

Crafter, grafter and cook, here’s Barbara’ slideshow:

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Thanks Barbara, for rolling up your sleeves on countless occasions and getting stuck in – those apple day pancakes were indeed #Lush. You are an inspiration and role model to your generation!

Huge thanks to these 3 beauties and to our other wonderful volunteers – if you would like to find out more about volunteering for Operation Farm we have plenty of regular opportunities on our community allotment and orchard and ad-hoc events and workshops

More thanks needed for our funders too – Awards for All, People’s Health Trust and Ambition for Ageing

Join us to celebrate our ‘Growing Year’ at our General Meeting and Volunteer Party on 22nd November 2017 at The Kitchen, Ashton