Break out the cap and gowns, baby squash are graduating!

Cassie Lee United Way Emerging Leader

Cassie Lee is a Warranty Business Analyst at PACCAR Inc., who was inspired to get more involved in the community. For her, Emerging Leaders was the answer; so here she is after only just a few volunteer experiences, writing on the positive effects she has seen so far.


As a Seattleite I rarely take the opportunity to drive out of the city. Heading just 30 minutes north, I along with a dozen other excited emerging leaders got the chance to spend the morning at Chinook Farms in Snohomish, WA. Located here is the Food Bank Farm run by Jim Eichner; the farm’s mission is to end hunger in the PNW by growing fresh produce for area food banks. Their goal is to raise a million pounds of nutritious fresh produce by 2021 and to date they have reached almost 25% of their goal.

As a group, we spent our time transplanting baby squash starters for this season’s fall harvest. Jim couldn’t have summarized our task any better; we were partaking in a big day for the baby squash, helping them graduate from the small greenhouse to the big wide world of the field. Jim’s passion and enthusiasm for the cause was inspiring and his leadership throughout the day, unwavering.

During the few hours out on the farm, we successfully transplanted about 6,000 squash starts which will yield approximately 60,000 pounds of food this October. This equates to 240,000 servings; a huge success.

Over the years the Food Bank Farm has grown in number—a direct result from the strong leadership team at the farm and enthusiastic volunteers, like you. From just 12 volunteers in 2011, the Farm has since reached peaks of 700+ specializing in squash and carrot farming. The growth and success of this organization is impressive and I know I’m not speaking for just myself when I say that being a part of it, was an incredibly invaluable experience.

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