NFI seeks both qualified & unqualified professionals!!

June 10, 2010

Author: Neighborhood Farm Initiative

Category: General News

By Bea Trickett

You know how Liz & I are always asking you to come out and volunteer for NFI? And sometimes you just aren’t the type of person to spend all day digging in the garden, or you already did that and kinda feel like well, that was harder than I thought it would be & I’m ready to move on to some other cool-sounding project.

NOT SO FAST!!! Likelihood is NFI can utilize your skills no matter what they are!!! We often find ourselves seeking both qualified and unqualified “professionals” to help us do things only tangentially related to our work in the garden, but tasks that are critical to providing us with the behind-the-scenes support we need to keep our work going.

Maybe we have asked you to brew beer for a fundraiser, bake cupcakes, help with graphic or web design, repair bicycles, map GIS coordinates, edit or act in videos, repair computers, play a banjo or a fiddle, squeeze lemonade, repair small engines, paint artistic things, build databases, design surveys, analyze data, rebuild our accounting system, or do any number of things you wouldn’t necessarily think you were signing up for when you initially logged on as potentially interested in volunteering for the Neighborhood Farm Initiative…. but turns out, the possibilities for involvement are virtually endless.

Running a small non-profit on a shoestring budget often means being extremely creative with resources, both material-wise and skill-wise. If you are looking for a way to get involved but just haven’t made it out to the garden yet, there are still plenty of ways for you to get involved as a volunteer. Simply send an email to NeighborhoodFarm(at) with a little bio outlining some of your skills, and sooner or later we will have a project for you!

Let’s take new volunteer Chris for instance. Little did he know that several months ago, Glut Food Co-op had generously donated a broken electronic scale to NFI for purposes of tracking how much produce we grow. However, our main garden site has no electricity and so we needed to convert the scale to run on battery power.

After some “simple” math – and a trip to RadioShack – we had all the supplies we’d need to experiment on this project. The original transformer converted the 120V AC current into 12V DC and the scale says it draws 300mA. Chris figured that 8 D-cell batteries should do the job. But while looking for battery holders, Bea spies some “lantern batteries” that say 6V and says can’t we just buy 2 of these? Chris says brilliant, and grabs some alligator clips and a “project enclosure”, and we hit the road back to the office. While Bea made an elaborate sandwich (with fresh-harvested lettuce and a baguette from our friends at Upper Crust Bakery!), Chris cut up a thrift-store-purchased transformer & assembled everything into a working project.

Hey, presto! A working scale!!!! So now we have a scale that works either plugged in wherever we have electricity, or will run on battery power anywhere that we don’t. It weighs up to 30 lbs of food at once – exciting!!!

We tested the scale by weighing various objects around the office, including the power supply we’d just assembled. Chris described this process as simply “meta.” Check it out: if a battery supply kit were sold for a mere $7.14/lb, we could have purchased this model (which weighed 2.89 lbs fully assembled) for $20.63 – and WHOOOOOA, that is exactly what price Radio Shack charged us for!!!!
See, it takes all types of skillful folks to make this organization run right :-)

A huge THANKS again & again to everyone who pitches in behind the scenes… we really & truly couldn’t do it without you all!!

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