Barbara Laverick is the first to receive G.A.L.A.’s “Volunteer of the Year” recognition – and yes, it was Barbara’s steadfast commitment to sustainable community building that prompted G.A.L.A. to create the award in the first place! Josh Arnold, G.A.L.A.’s Founding Director, presented Barbara with this award at last October’s Farm-to-Table Feast – a collaboration of growers, chefs, and local food enthusiasts. Although Barbara’s contributions to G.A.L.A. span the organization’s spectrum of initiatives, this seemed liked the most appropriate venue for her recognition given her passion local foods and sustainable agriculture.
Most of you may recognize Barbara from the Wolfeboro Area Farmers’ Market (WAFM) or her Granite State News Dig It! column contributions. Barbara was the on-the-ground, go-to, volunteer at the WAFM this year. Barbara fielded questions and comments ranging from “I think I lost my sunglasses here last week, have you seen them?” to “I have a WIC coupon, do you know which booths accept this certificate?” to “I live across the street and just wanted to tell you how much I love the farmers’ market,” and anything else that came her way. Barbara also helped with the grunt work – assisting vendors unload boxes of produce or coolers of locally raised meat, putting up no-parking signs by the Clark Park flowerbeds, and helping to erect and setup the G.A.L.A. tent. This latter effort could have been slightly self-serving, because when Barbara was not fielding customer questions or helping farmers, she was often enjoying shade under the G.A.L.A. tent reading a book or grazing on the week’s farm fresh prepared food feature, or both. Towards the end of the season, Barbara even took it upon herself to create a WAFM newsletter that included weekly market updates and a crossword puzzle that tested the WAFM familiarity of even the most veteran vendors!
But it doesn’t end at the Farmers’ Market. Barbara and her husband, Chuck, have been loyal “G.A.L.A. Gleaners” for the past two years. Every week during the growing season, Barbara and Chuck travel to East Conway to participate in the UNH Cooperative Extention’s Veggie Volunteer program at Sherman Farm. Last year, spearheaded by Barbara and Chuck, G.A.L.A. volunteers harvested over 700lbs of fresh produce for distribution to Wolfeboro’s All Saints Life Ministries Food Pantry. This year’s figures were very close to last. John Foster and affiliated food pantry friends have expressed immense appreciation for this contribution.
And G.A.L.A. is just the beginning – Barbara plays all sorts of leadership roles in the community involving the Wolfeboro Energy Committee, Wolfeboro Pathways Committee, the Pork Hill Farm CSA Program, the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Winter Conference, among others. How does Barbara keep up with it all? Good question. Maybe it’s due to her growing up in Washington DC, or being a Vista Volunteer while living in Idaho, or a being a Teacher in the coal country of Georgia, West Virginia, and Tennessee, or maybe it is simply because she loves NH, after living here for the last 30 years; last 15 being in Wolfeboro. Whatever the reasons may be, the G.A.L.A. Community is immensely grateful for Barbara’s dedication and commitment to sustainable community building and is honored to award her the very first Volunteer of the Year award. Thank you Barbara!!!