Posted on April 21, 2010 with 9 Comments
The exciting events of this past week have entailed some very busy and very long days at Growing Power…
But thanks to a lot of hard work from Kohl’s National Green Team Challenge, we have
- a newly expanded goat pen with improved fencing, feeders, and shelter,
- new footings and benches on our solar panel pergola,
- beds built at Maple Tree Elementary School in preparation for the upcoming growing season,
- new pallet composting bins,
- improved landscaping around the three houses adjoining our property,
- and assistance with a myriad of daily tasks (including sifting and moving compost!) and seasonal changes (including transplanting seedlings and moving more compost!) that are taking place this spring.
In honor of the national 40th anniversary of Earth Day and the 10th anniversary of the Kohl’s A-Team, a group of Kohl’s employees that volunteers at various community organizations, Kohl’s organized a national volunteer event during which they distributed thousands of volunteers to local environmental non-profits.
Growing Power was lucky to receive a portion of the 1,500 volunteers from the Kohl’s Coporate Offices in Menomonee Falls–a few miles west of our location on Silver Spring Drive. One of the seven volunteer teams of over 200 people was assigned to Growing Power because of our established and continually developing relationship.
One of Growing Power’s principles and lessons to those starting their own urban farming projects is to build partnerships within the local community. Growing Power’s work with Kohl’s a prime example of how we build symbiotic relationships within the Milwaukee community.
Last summer, Growing Power installed four gardens at the Kohl’s Corporate Offices. One is near the smokers’ depot, and the remaining three are adjacent to the daycare facilities for youth programs. About 700lbs of produce from these gardens has been donated to the Hunger Task Force.
Furthermore, Kohl’s has been collecting their kitchen waste for our composting operation, and Growing Power has been holding a weekly market near the cafeteria, helping to complete the cycle of food waste to soil to good food, and back to waste, etc. Kohl’s has also been sending regular A-Team volunteer groups to Growing Power, each visit accompanied by a grant, which helps us to keep up the hard work!
For the Earth Day event this year, in addition to 700 hours of work plus 200 more of planning , among the $400,000 that Kohl’s is donating to organizations in the City of Milwaukee, Growing Power is receiving support in the form of in kind donations and grants, in order to purchase supplies like a compressor and pnuematic staple guns, wood working supplies, and farm tools, i.e. pitchforks and shovels, etc.
According to June Fischer, the Senior Manager of Corporate Sustainability, Kohl’s enjoys working with Growing Power not only because they believe in our mission to grow local and healthy food, but especially because of the work that we do with youth–one of Kohl’s core values in their volunteer work.
Growing Power loves working with Kohl’s, and would like to extend a big THANK YOU to all of the people who spent time here last week! The staff really enjoyed working with this group. We could not do it all without volunteers, and we hope that many of them will return in the future.
Visit Growing Power for our Earth Day open house to check out what’s been going on!