Cpg giving gardenprojectguide_rev112012

Community Giving Gardens: A Guide for Project Leaders Revised: November 2011

Transcript of Cpg giving gardenprojectguide_rev112012

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Community Giving Gardens: A Guide for Project Leaders

Revised: November 2011

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Leveraging employee talent. Strengthening partnerships. Improving communities. Welcome!

This guide is the culmination of a Six Sigma project to create a comprehensive, global “toolkit” on how to lead a successful Community Giving Garden CIT project based on the straw-bale gardening method.

The information in this guide was collected by the 6S team from the people who are directly involved in Giving Gardens: From the volunteers who plant the seeds to the community partner agencies that receive the plentiful harvest; from the CIT and Corporate Responsibility leaders who envision the big picture to the project leaders who implement that vision each step of the way. This guide also includes information from expert gardeners and external resources, which are listed in the bibliography at the end of the guide.

As a winner of the 2010 Environmental Challenge, the Community Giving Garden is a leading example of a best-practice CIT project. The first Community Giving Garden was planted in 2010 at the Fridley (MN, USA) plant of Cummins Power Generation. In 2011, the project expanded to Cummins sites in southern Indiana: Columbus Mid-Range Engine Plant and Seymour Engine Plant. The community garden also extended into CPG Fridley’s community partner CommonBond Communities, which has set up gardens at several affordable-housing sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

But the history of the Giving Garden doesn’t stop there. This guide has been provided as a tool to project leaders interested in planting their own seeds, wherever that may be. We hope you find this a useful resource to make that happen.






This project is engaging volunteers across the company. --Nihal Shetty, Fridley CIT Leader

The Fridley Community Giving Garden team accepts the 2010 Environmental Challenge award.

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Table of Contents

Intro to Straw-Bale Gardening………….. Project Planning…………………………. Installation………………………………... Conditioning………………………........... Planting……………………………........... Garden Maintenance………………......... Harvest & Delivery………………………. Teardown…………………………………. Appendix………………………………….. Bibliography……………………………….

Page 4 Page 5 Page 10 Page 13 Page 14 Page 16 Page 17 Page 22 Page 24 Page 28

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Intro to Straw-Bale Gardening

Types of gardening methods In-ground Raised bed Container

How does one design the perfect garden? Let’s face it – gardening has its frustrations. Weeds, weather conditions, pool soil, moisture, pests, disease and the back-breaking work can all take its toll on even the greenest of thumbs. When the Fridley project team was considering what method of gardening to employ, they chose a lesser-known method using straw bales, which is a form of container gardening.

What a straw-bale garden needs Sun Water Relatively flat space

Examples of Containers Pot or planter box Old boot or antique urn Straw bale

How a straw-bale garden works A straw bale is a container held

together by string. The bale is “conditioned” to allow the

inner straw to decay. When the straw inside the bale

starts to decay, it forms a compost suitable for plant growth.

That’s what this is: A form of container gardening, but a much more sustainable one. --Melissa King, Fridley garden leader

Benefits of a straw-bale garden No tilling Less weeding Fewer bugs and animals Less prone to disease More capable of handling frost Less bending Creates its own compost Holds moisture well Can be located almost anywhere

Where to find straw bales Local farmer Garden centers Holiday displays (churches, schools) Craig’s List (www.craigslist.com) or

other Local Classifieds

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Identifying Community Need

A grand opening ceremony was held in July 2011 at Glenbrook Apartments in Milwaukee, Wis., to celebrate the community garden – one of several on-site gardens at CommonBond Communities residential programs.

Once the need is established, solicit information from community partners. o Set up initial meeting with program director or other agency representative to learn about the

organization’s current operations, meal program(s), and need for fresh produce. (See Appendix A and B.)

Select community partners First-year gardens should identify no more than three (3) community partner organizations to

partner with. If multiple opportunities exist, a Cause & Effect Matrix may help to prioritize recipients. (See Appendix C.)

Need to ask… o What are the hunger issues in my local community? o Is there a need in the community for fresh produce? o What are the organizations we currently partner with

through the Community Involvement Team? o Who would benefit from fresh produce?

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Identifying a garden location

Site identification 1. Is it near a water source? 2. Will it be in full sunlight for 6-8

hours a day? 3. What are the policies and laws

surrounding safety and environment?

4. Is it easily accessible to employees? How visible is it to employees and the general public?

With community organization(s) identified to receive the produce, you can now move forward with getting a garden set up. This is where engagement with Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE) and Facilities leaders is most important. While it is true that a straw-bale garden can be placed virtually anywhere (since the soil underneath the bales is irrelevant), it does need to meet all other site requirements.

Turning lemons into lemonade. When Seymour Engine Plant (Seymour, Ind.) project leaders discovered that they could not place their garden on the rooftop or on the asphalt due to environmental restrictions, they resorted to an elevated ivy bed against the building. In fact, it turned out to be an ideal location, SEP garden co-chair Renee Wilson said, due to the high visibility as employees walk past the windows. There was a secondary benefit, too: “The bales are waist high and require even less effort as there is no bending required,” Wilson said.

We selected the site based on open areas around the plant with easy water access and high visibility. It is very important to have the garden in an easy access point so people can run out for short visits. --Amanda Williams, CMEP CIT Leader

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Creating a Shopping List & Budget

Straw bales* T-Posts (6 feet) Post driver 14-gauge steel wire Heavy garden hose Soaker hose(s) – UV

resistant, rubber Watering timer Watering manifold

(splitter) Garden staples or

landscape pins Fertilizer (15M High

Nitrogen 32-0-5)* 10-10-10 Fertilizer* Potting soil* Trowels

Scoops Garden clippers Wire cutters and/or

pliers Watering can Supply storage bin Tomato cages Plant markers Seeds* Plants or seedlings* Garden gloves First-aid kit Scale Volunteer log & pen * denotes a consumable

Materials Checklist

One benefit of the garden project is much of the material can be reused year after year, so the start-up expenses will go away after the first year. It is also important to check with your Facilities team and other colleagues to find out if any items (tools, hoses, etc.) can be donated. The source of the straw bales may also be willing to offer bales for free or at a discount, or deliver at no charge.

T-Post and post driver

Soaker hose

Garden staples

Potting soil

Plant markets


Wire cutters

Tomato cage

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Recruiting volunteers There are at least two types of volunteers needed for a project like this: short-term and long-term volunteers. Short-term volunteers are generally involved in one-day events, such as installation and teardown. Long-term volunteers are generally involved in the ongoing harvesting and delivery. Knowing this, you can target your recruitment efforts to engage the right type of volunteer.

Type of volunteer Participation activities

Recruitment ideas

Short-Term •Installation •Bale conditioning •Planting •Teardown

• Engage manufacturing leaders to enlist their teams • Create an event on MyCommunity

Long-Term •Planting •Maintenance •Harvest •Delivery •Communications

• Site-wide posters, e-mails • If second-year project, enlist first-year volunteers to help recruit others

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Layout configurations

Stars represent T-Posts for Trellis Support

Yellow Squares represent Straw Bales

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Installing the bales 1. Coordinate delivery of bales. 2. Line the bales according to the selected layout. Position the bales so that the cut side is up, folded side down. The

strings are horizontal (parallel to the ground), not vertical. North to south facing is best but not required. Place bales far enough apart to mow between rows and to avoid crop shading.






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Installing supporting hardware Materials needed: T-Posts 14-gauge electric fence wire Post driver and/or large mallets Wire cutters and/or pliers

Installation: 1. Post or stake at the end of each

row with up to five bales between posts.

2. Use 14-gauge electric fence wire to create a trellis between stakes.

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Installing the water system Materials needed: Soaker hoses Regular heavy-duty hose Faucet timer Stakes or garden staples (Wire

coat hangers work well, clipped and re-shaped into an upside-down “U”)

Installation: 1. Place the soaker hose in a

straight line or “snaked” across the row of bales directly on top of the bales. Stake the soaker hose in place.

2. Attach the timer to the faucet. 3. Attach the regular hose from the

faucet to the soaker hose.

U-shaped wire for staking the hose in the bale

Watering manifold: Each soaker hose is connected into the regular hose for easier, more consistent watering.

Soaker hoses are “snaked” across the row of bales.

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Conditioning the bales for planting

Conditioning Schedule Day 1: Sprinkle evenly ½ cup per bale Ammonium Nitrate

(34-0-0) fertilizer. Then water aggressively until water runs out bottom

Day 2: Water Day 3: Sprinkle ½ cup (34-0-0) evenly per bale + water. Day 4: Water Day 5: Sprinkle ½ cup (34-0-0) evenly per bale + water. Day 6: Water Days 7-9: Sprinkle ¼ cup (34-0-0) evenly per bale + water. Day 10: Sprinkle 1 cup (10-10-10) evenly per bale + water.

Day 11 or 12: PLANTING!

Why do we need to condition the bales? Straw bales must decompose in order to create the nitrogen-rich media for plants to grow. To do so, there is a simple 10-day formula of nitrogen-enriched fertilizer, moisture and time to force the decay process.

Fertilizer 101 The three numbers on a bag of

fertilizer represent the proportions of three important plant nutrients:

Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, in that order.

N-P-K Nitrogen is the primary nutrient for

plant growth. Phosphorus encourages rooting,

blooming and fruit production. Potassium helps plants resist disease

and be hardy in winter.

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What & When to Plant The first goal was, ‘Let’s grow

something.’ Then it kept growing. --Melissa King, Fridley garden leader

What to Plant Vegetables, root corps, vine crops, leaf crops, herbs and flowers. Annuals, not perennials.

What Not to Plant Anything that is tall, like corn, is not recommended because it becomes too top-heavy and unstable.

When to Plant Cool-season crops can be planted on Day 11 or 12 after the bales are conditioned. They are hardy and can endure colder temperatures and short periods of frost. Cool-season crops include beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, radishes and onions. Warm-season crops can be planted after the last frost because these plants cannot handle the cold or frost. Warm-season crops include tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, melons and squash.

**Best Practice Ideas** • To ensure your planting aligns with the Community Partner needs, the best thing to do is consult the agency. One exercise is to have the agency rank a list of fruits, vegetables and herbs (that are available and within budget for purchase, of course). Or, have the agency survey their clients to really get their clients engaged.

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Companion Planting

**Best Practice Ideas** • Create a Produce Reference Guide to help educate your garden volunteers. Collect information that identifies each produce in the garden, such as what helps/hinders their growth, time it takes to harvest, and photos of what a ready-to-harvest crop looks like. Keep this in a three-ring binder in the storage bin/shed. • Clip diagrams of the bale layouts (see Appendix D for an example) to the trellis above each bale using plastic sleeves and clothespins. This will ensure seeds are placed where they should be and will help identify plants when it comes to harvest time.

The theory behind companion planting is that certain plants can benefit others when placed next to each other. They may help by deterring pests or depositing nutrients into the soil that another plant requires to grow. This method of gardening is beneficial to the environment because it reduces the need for pesticides and fertilizers. For more on companion plants, research on the web or visit your local agricultural agency or research institution.

Onions and beets are planted together in one bale. Onions help beets and other plants by producing a strong odor that repels insects.

If people want to understand how the different plants work together, then you plant a variety of plants in each row. --John Pendray, Fridley garden core team member

Flowers are planted in the

sides of each bale to attract good

insects such as bees and

butterflies, and to repel pests.

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While the garden grows… The seeds have been planted… now what?! Volunteers should visit the garden at least once per week to do any weeding and check on the progress of seeds and plants. Weeding. Some weeds may sprout; pull or cut as necessary. Observation. Look for possible problems or issues such as dry plants, diseases, insects, pests. Let Project Leader know of any issues. Education. Improve your vegetable knowledge by reading about the produce you've planted. Collection. Start saving those containers you buy strawberries, blueberries and tomatoes in. Bring them to the garden shed for collecting harvested produce. Also, save plastic shopping bags for harvesting and delivery of produce.

**Best Practice Ideas** • Create a Produce Reference Guide to help to help educate your garden volunteers. Collect information that identifies each produce in the garden, such as what helps/hinders their growth, time it takes to harvest, and photos of what a ready-to-harvest crop looks like. Keep this in a three-ring binder in the storage bin/shed. • Plan a “garden party” that will be held during peak harvest season. Include company leadership, community partners, the general public and the media, and send invitations now! • Develop a communication campaign. Invite others to “come watch us grow.” Host a Lunch & Learn to recruit volunteers.

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ST &



Y Preparing for the harvest Educate volunteers. Offer as much training as possible, especially for first-time gardeners, on plant identification, garden maintenance and the harvest. Solicit more experienced gardeners to help out first-time gardeners. Education is empowerment!

Having a weekly schedule helps. We have that expectation that something is coming. --Liz Meyers, Alexandra House volunteer coordinator

I can hear something from one gardener and pass it along to another gardener and it makes us more connected. --Nanette Cubus, Fridley garden volunteer and “central depot” for harvest

Create a detailed schedule. Work with community partner(s) to develop a schedule, such as deliveries once or twice a week. For instance, designate Mondays and Thursdays as harvesting days and Tuesdays and Fridays as delivery days. Rotate each team through the delivery schedule. Set up drop-off location and designate a “central depot” volunteer. Having a dedicated volunteer with the right resources – a nearby refrigerator and plenty of space to weigh and store incoming produce – is a critical part of the harvest and delivery process. Be sure to leave out a Harvest Record in case this volunteer is out of the office when a delivery arrives.

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ST &



Y Harvesting The harvest season can inspire many special occasions – from the very first harvest to the 100-pound milestone, to the 1000-pound milestone and beyond. With a growing season that lasts for months – how many depends on the climate – it is important to keep volunteers motivated through those “blue-thumb” days.

You never know what you’re going to find. When CMEP Garden Leader Heather Wilson was picking radishes one day, she did not expect to see this five-foot-long radish at the other end. The root alone was 26 inches.

**Best Practice Ideas!** • Constant communication. Send e-mail blasts to volunteers on a regular basis. These messages could include a “Featured Produce of the Week,” a reminder to harvest or a milestone announcement. • Encourage team challenges and decorations to add some flair. • Host a “garden party” or a Lunch & Learn session. With the garden in full bloom, it’s the perfect opportunity to invite employees, leadership, community partners, the media and general public to see the garden grow. Serve dishes directly from your garden! Better yet, provide garden recipes for attendees. • Provide garden tours to recruit new volunteers mid-season. Flamingos were the theme of the CMEP garden

in 2011.

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ST &



Y Harvesting: In Their Own Words

“It gives people a destination. There are some people who would never leave their desk if they didn’t have a destination.” --Melissa King, Fridley garden leader

The garden is therapeutic in a way. -- Kendall Bannister, SEP garden volunteer

It leverages our employee talents and skill sets. --Sue Piva, Corporate Responsibility Manager

It gives the employees something outside of their normal duties to attend to and watch grow. --Paul Homer, CMEP CIT sponsor

They (the residents) go out and pick it directly from the garden. It gives them a feeling that I picked it directly out of the garden. --Wally Kammeier, resident of CommonBond Communities’ Norwood Square and garden leader

I encourage the people who are working in the garden to try the produce you are growing. You’re more inclined to try something new if you are growing it yourself; you have an investment in growing it. --Melissa King, Fridley garden leader

There’s a huge variety of people (at Cummins), so it really pulls the different functions together better. So you actually see people that you would never see at work; you’ve been working at the same building for years but you never see each other. So you actually get out there and find you have a common interest. --John Pendray, Fridley garden core team member

I’ve taught people on my team what a carrot looks like or when peas should be harvested. --Dennis Otremba, Fridley garden volunteer

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ST &



Y Delivery Ideally, delivery should happen the day after each harvest. It is important to keep in regular contact with community partners to understand if the delivery schedule and the produce they are receiving are meeting their needs, and the needs of their clients.

Remember to invite the community partners out to the garden, too!

Barbara Cummings, the food pantry coordinator at Love Chapel, visits the CMEP Giving Garden.

**Best Practice Ideas!** • When bagging produce for delivery, include the product name and cooking instructions. • If the produce goes directly to clients, attach a tag explaining where the food came from (i.e., ‘This food was grown by Cummins employees at [Seymour Engine Plant] and is donated to you through the [Anchor House Pantry Program]. Please enjoy these healthy food choices for you and your family.’ • If the garden yields excess produce, consider freezing or canning for off-season consumption.

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ST &



Y Delivery: In Their Own Words

It would also be good to get feedback from those receiving the produce, to keep the volunteers motivated. --Colby Christensen, SEP garden volunteer

We always enjoyed getting the lettuces, anything that can be put into a salad. We have a green salad for every lunch or dinner. --Liz Meyers, Alexandra House volunteer coordinator

It’s not the company giving money to a need, but empowering the employee to make a difference and participate on even the simplest level. --Renee Wilson, SEP project leader

I delivered once last year to an elderly care facility. They were able to come down and take some vegetables to cook in their apartment’s kitchen. They were surprised to see something that didn’t come from Rainbow or Cub Foods. --Dennis Otremba, Fridley garden volunteer

“I have my twins, Braeden and Tristen, who are seven years old, helping me out with deliveries to Anchor House every Friday. They get so excited to see how much more we are getting every week. Tristen said to me, "Mommy, these people are so happy when we bring the food. I saw how that lady started smiling when we walked in the gate.” -- Kendall Bannister, SEP garden volunteer

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Teardown Similar to installation, work with the Facilities team on the logistics of garden teardown and removal of all material from the site. If you are reusing any equipment, document where ALL items are being stored so that you can find it next year. Composting Interested in composting the straw for use in next year’s garden? Here’s how! Research. Understand local laws regulating what organic waste can be composted , where and how. Structure. Enclosing a compost pile in a structure prevents material from blowing around and also speeds up the composting process by creating a insulation layer to warm the center of the pile. Enclosed structures are also usually required by law. Structures can be purchased at stores such as garden centers, or built manually. They should be: (1) cylindrical or cubical in shape (2) about 5 feet x 5 feet x 5 feet and (3) built from woven wire fencing and metal posts, or rot-resistant wood, wire and metal posts. Preparation. Build your compost pile in layers, beginning with 8-10 inches of organic material. Water it to the point of being moist, but not soggy. Then add a nitrogen source, such as ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate or an inexpensive high-nitrogen lawn fertilizer without herbicide. Sprinkle the pile with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of fertilizer per 25 square feet of surface area (a 5-foot by 5-foot bin.) You may choose to add a one-inch layer of soil or completed compost over the nitrogen to increase the number of decomposing microbes in the pile. Repeat these layers until the pile reaches a height of five feet, watering each time you add new layers. Maintenance. An active compost pile will heat to130-160° Fahrenheit. As the center cools, turn the pile to help speed decomposition (about once or twice a month). Continue to water your compost pile periodically to keep it moist but not soggy. A well-managed compost pile will be ready in two to four months in the warm season, and a pile not well tended will take a year or more. When completed, the compost pile will be about half its original height.

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VOLUNTEERS • Number of volunteers • Number of EEEC hours • Volunteer recruitment – what was effective? • Volunteer feedback • Was employee time used effectively? What improvements can be made?

PRODUCE • What produce grew well? What did not? • Total yield, and yield by date • If companion planting was done, was it effective? • What pests, weather conditions, etc. were problematic? • How much weeding needed to be done?

MATERIALS/FACILITIES • Was the location effective? • Can materials and supplies be reused? • Can materials and supplies be stored on-site?

BUDGET • Was the project within budget? • What materials/supplies were purchased but not needed? • How can budget be better controlled? • Is there funding and interest to expand the garden?

COMMUNITY PARTNERS • Community partner feedback • Were the expectations of the community partner met? • Was the delivery process effective? • What are recommendations for next year’s planting?

COMMUNICATION • What communication methods were used for volunteer recruitment? • How were volunteers educated and prepared? • What communication methods were used to engage people (internal and external) to the garden? • What improvements can be made?

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Agency Interview Guide Example





Community Organization: Date: Interviewer(s): Interviewee(s): Who we are and why we're here: Cummins Power Generation is a Fridley Business dedicated to improving the communities in which we live and work. Our company and employees regularly contribute to CommonBond and we are exploring ways in which we can continue to improve that partnership. The purpose of this interview is to determine if the people that use the services of CommonBond have a need for additional produce in their diets in order to meet the guidelines created by the USDA Food Pyramid. This visit is strictly to collect information it will not be shared with anyone outside of Cummins Power Generation and CommonBond. We want to talk directly to CommonBond: To get a clear picture of what some of the nutritional needs of our community are How much need is there And how those needs are currently being met Questions 1. How many clients do you serve at this location? What are their age ranges?

Children: _____ 2-3 years _____ 4-8 years _____ 9-13 years _____ 14-18 years Adults: _____ 19-30 years _____ 31-50 years _____ 51+ years

2. Please describe the role of your organization as it relates to the diet of your clients. 3. How would you describe the diet of your clients? Why is it that way? 4. What types of produce do they consume? Is it primarily fresh, frozen or canned? What would they like that they don’t currently have? 5. What would be the most effective method to distribute produce to your agency? 6. Please describe your produce storage capacity. 7. Please describe how your clients might like to get involved in providing their own produce. Does your facility have the capacity to have

an on-site garden? 8. Please list any other benefits you foresee from receiving fresh produce at no cost. 9. Please describe anything we may have missed or any disadvantages you perceive from receiving donations of fresh produce. 10. This is the end of the interview. Before we go, is there anything you would like to tell us? 11. Would you mind if we contacted you again in the future if we have any more questions?

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Food Pyramid Guidelines







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Cause & Effect Matrix for Determining Community Partner Recipients (example)





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Companion Planting - Diagrams


Lettuce or

Swiss Chard

Radishes & Carrots

Peppers & Onions

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Brown, Deborah L. and Rosen, Carl J. Backyard Composting. University of Minnesota Extension Service, 2011. http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG3899.html Karsten, Joel. “Straw Bale Gardening.” Roseville,

Minn. http://strawbalegardens.com