This spring, take a drive down Simsbury Road in West Granby, enjoy the beautiful barns and farm fields and meadows of Holcomb Farm as they come to life, and give thanks to the Granby volunteers who have helped make it so. Among the many volunteers, there is one, lovingly known as the Posse, worth considering. The dictionary defines a Posse as “a group of people who have come together for the same purpose.” The Friends of Holcomb Farm’s Posse members describe themselves as: “folks with spare time, willing to get dirty, and work when it’s hot or cold”; “people who want to get stuff done, with no meetings, and no recognition”; “people who like to dive into a project and see it through”; and “just a group of people who want to make Holcomb Farm better.” They range from a retired civil engineer to a retired lawyer-cum-master gardener, and everything in between. They each contribute anywhere from 10 hours a week to 10 hours a month, depending on the season, the project and their availability, interest, and aptitude. Some bring their tools and equipment, some just show up.
One of the Posse ringleaders, Ralph Eustis, says he began volunteering around 2010, when he showed up at the barn, picked up a weed whacker, and started whacking. When there was a changeover in farmers, someone needed to figure out how the irrigation system worked, so Jim Lofink and a crew started digging. Someone else loaned the farm a tractor, and others stepped up when it, and other machinery, needed repairs. A few of them decided it might be more effective to coordinate their efforts, so three to five Posse members started meeting on a pre-arranged day each week, tackling specific projects that Farmer Joe writes on a white board hung in the barn. Projects have ranged from scraping, priming and painting a garage, to clearing invasive plants, mowing paths and repairing bridges. With some recent success in securing grants, the Posse is busy providing the “in kind” services that help attract funding from the State. This includes prepping and pouring a new cement floor in the CSA barn, and building improved dry and cold storage areas.
There is no formal process for joining the Posse, or to volunteer your time and talents more generally. If you like working hard for the compensation of a job well done and the thanks of a grateful community, please get in touch with Farmer Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org.