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South Shore YMCA Cultivates its Roots in the Community with its new Family Farm

Posted: Jul. 05, 2018 Learn More

It started with an open plot of land and a seed of an idea to bring the community closer together back in the fall of 2017. Today, the South Shore YMCA’s Family Farm in Hanover is now open for planting, as volunteers and staff have begun to transform the previously vacant lot off of Route 53 into a family-friendly space for hands-on farming education.

Based on the successes of the South Shore YMCA’s Camp Burgess Farm, its Germantown Neighborhood Center’s Vegetable Garden, and the Children’s Garden at the SSYMCA South Shore Natural Science Center, the SSYMCA will follow the same path in Hanover. The Family Farm will be a place where children, families and neighbors can participate in giving back through sustainable agriculture, with local food pantries across the South Shore to receive produce cultivated from the farm.

“Together with the Town of Hanover, we wanted to find a new way to breathe life into our vision of serving as a true partner for members to grow, learn, and thrive through our services and programs,” said Paul Gorman, CEO, South Shore YMCA. “A farm where children, families, and volunteers can all come together to learn while simultaneously giving back was a natural fit. We look forward to welcoming our neighbors to come and grow with us, and to supporting those in need throughout Hanover and the South Shore.”

Located between the South Shore YMCA’s Early Learning Center (ELC) in Hanover and the Emilson branch of the South Shore YMCA in Hanover, the SSYMCA Family Farm will provide visitors with tangible learning experiences. Children from the adjacent Early Learning Center already visit to engage with the raised farm beds on-site and Summer Camp attendees from the nearby South Shore YMCA’s Camp Gordon Clark will also be able to visit the farm as part of their ongoing camp activities.

“This farm will serve a critical role in building a resilient, engaged and supportive community here in Hanover and beyond as a wider part of the South Shore,” said Nina Rogowsky, Farm Director, SSYMCA South Shore Natural Science Center. “We can’t wait to welcome people of all ages and abilities to come engage with the land, the local ecology, and with each other.”

As the farm develops, generous donations and ongoing investments from companies like Caruso Landscape Design are helping to turn this idea into a reality. Recognizing the valuable asset that this space will soon become, the company has assisted with everything from spreading soil to donating their staff’s time and effort to get the farm off the ground. Volunteer efforts from businesses such as BlumShapiro, Sandbox Medical, Aramark and Eastern Benefits Group are also crucial in bringing this project to life.

Chris Ernest, Partner, BlumShapiro was on-site with over 30 colleagues at the farm on Friday, June 15. The Family Farm was a natural choice when selecting the project they’d be working on for the Massachusetts Society of CPA’s state-wide day of service.

“It’s important for us as a firm to give back to the community we work and live in,” said Ernest. “From the food pantry at the Germantown Neighborhood Center to the annual Taste of the South Shore event, we’ve been involved with the South Shore YMCA for years, and it’s been a great partnership for us. This farm now gives us a unique chance to give back while fostering a sense of camaraderie among our colleagues as we volunteer together.”

While currently closed to the public during the week to allow for Camp and Early Learning Center children to interact with the space, the South Shore YMCA Family Farm will soon host open volunteer sessions on select weekend dates, giving people throughout the South Shore a chance to donate their time and effort to a variety of projects and needs at the farm.

“Not only will people be able to participate and give to the farm, but the farm will be a way for us to give back, as well,” added Rogowsky. “Our members, families and volunteers will grow personally through the learning opportunities the farm will provide, while helping to grow items that will directly and positively impact those in need throughout our community.”

For details on scheduling opportunities for families, individuals, companies and other organizations to volunteer at the South Shore YMCA’s Family Farm, please reach out to Nina Rogowsky at or at 781-427-6167 or Chris Jacobs, Executive Director, SSYMCA South Shore Natural Science Center at or at 781-659-2559. For information on how to support its work through donations, contact Mary Orne at or 781-264-9400 ext. 3306.

Visit in the coming weeks for more information about the South Shore YMCA Family Farm.


About the South Shore YMCA

The South Shore YMCA is a not-for-profit association of individuals dedicated to improving the quality of life for all through programs that promote healthy spirit, mind, and body. Serving the communities of Quincy, Randolph, Holbrook, Weymouth, Braintree, Milton, Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hanover and beyond, the South Shore Y provides the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive through its services and programs. Financial Assistance is a Y community benefit available to all families in need, applicable to all Y programs and services. To learn more about the South Shore YMCA, visit The South Shore YMCA. The Better You Belongs Here.