Come Together: 5 Ways You Can Help the Plant Sales...

The 2016 Peterson Garden Project plant and bake sales are fast approaching. This year’s plants sales are going to be bigger and better than ever. We’re moving to a new, larger location in Uptown, introducing new plant varieties (including edible flowers) and planning some special events and appearances. This sale is going to be so nice, we’re having it twice – a cool weather crop sale in April and a hot crop/bake sale in May. We count on a big turnout at our plant sales to help us fund the gardens and community cooking school. Whether you garden with us or in your own backyard, buying your garden supplies at our plant sales help us finance our organization. It takes a lot of manpower to throw a big event like this. And that’s where you come in. Here are five ways you can help us: 1. Sign up to volunteer: As our biggest event of the year, we need a lot of volunteers to help make the plant sales a success. From merchandise set up and tear down to cashiers and customer service, it takes a village to put on plant sales of this size. Check out the volunteer page for a full list of opportunities. 2. Baker, baker, bake us some goods: The Plant Sale that’s slated for Mother’s Day weekend will also include a bake sale. Bring us your cookies, your scones, your cupcakes and breads. Sign up to volunteer to supply your delicious baked goods to our May plant sale. 3. Help us make media connections: If you’re a member of the media – or know someone who is – help us distribute our plant sales press release. You can also help by making introductions to media contacts by emailing communications@petersongarden.org. 4. Help us...

We Can’t Say Thank You Enough...

April was Volunteer Month, and our volunteers came out in droves. Our first workday coincided with Gardens Open! on April 25. Volunteers braved a wet and chilly day to clear brush and weeds, fill beds, repair the Communication Stations and other tasks to bring the gardens back from their winter doldrums. (CPS Students showed up to help on opening day)   (Chilly gardeners fixed the communications station and cleaned up Global) City Year and Hyatt Hotel employees rebuilt the community area at Global! (With special thanks to Hyatt for donating all supplies) (City Year and employees of Hyatt Hotels rebuilt the Global Gardens stage) Eileen Fisher Highland Park helped us connect with Girls in the Game and YWCA Tech Gyrls to build the new beds at Hello!Howard (Girls have power (drills)!) We met a lot of new volunteers at the Employee Volunteer Fair sponsored by funder Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. We can’t wait to work with them, and with you! Would you like to volunteer? Sign up for the volunteer newsletter here or watch the Classes and Events page for volunteer opportunities that work for...

Communicate Everything...

At Peterson Garden Project, we have a “five tricks” approach to volunteers: Communicate, Share, Listen, Assign, and Reward. The most important thing we do for volunteers is to communicate with them. The more pertinent information we share, the better every volunteer’s experience will be. Better information means less drama because people get uncomfortable when they don’t know what’s going on. We have lots of ways to communicate with our volunteers, our followers and our gardeners, and we’re busy creating more. We’ve learned that the more people who know that the gardens and the kitchen happen because volunteers, the better. We honor them everywhere—on Facebook, through our “Volunteer of the Week.” Even though most people chose not to volunteer, everyone will have seen communications dedicated to the subject. (200 people make Grow2Give happen, here’s the team from NEIU-Ground) Even new volunteers know what they will find, and what they should do before they ever walk through the door. To the uninitiated, an event can seem a bit intimidating. Open communication bares the mystery: what does a volunteer do? We let them know up front that it’s okay if they don’t know much about the workings of the agency– that’s our job. They are there for specific jobs, something you have shown them how to do. At Peterson Garden Project we use volunteers one at a time, and in big groups. We’ve got a couple of fantastic volunteer events coming up. Next weekend we’ll participate in the Cesar Chavez Day of Service at NEIU-Ground Garden (we’ll talk more about that in another post). (Volunteers from Ernst and Young painted the kitchen!) April is National Volunteer Month and we’ll be working on several special projects. Our wonderful partners Eileen Fisher is helping us bring Girls in the Game and Tech Gyrls from the YWCA to expand...

VOW’s 2014

We like to celebrate our volunteers, as they are the very core of what makes our project successful. As a small thank you, each Volunteer of the Week (VOW) of 2014 had a chance to select three packets of seeds (Renee’s Dinner Garden or Seed Savers Exchange) from Matty K’s Hardware – our local hardware store- on the house! Over the past year, we highlighted some truly great volunteers; all of whom help PGP tick and to whom we are truly grateful! Here is a list of our 2014 VOWs. Thank you for all that you do. Erin King, Nan Rothrock, Josephine McEntee, Tracey Dobson, Jessica Reimer, Ashley Luciani, Yvette Holt, Christine Skaggs, Anna Kong, Curtis Irby, Lin Prucher, Lindsay Jacobson, Pauline Roth, Debbie Sheriff, Cid Stanford, and Jenn...

Cid Stanford: Volunteer of the Week...

We like to celebrate our volunteers, as they are the very core of what makes our project successful. As a small thank you, each VOW will be able to pick out 3 packets of seeds (Renee’s Dinner Garden or Seed Savers Exchange) from Matty K’s Hardware – our local hardware store- on the house! This week we would like to recognize Cid Stanford! Cid has been eagerly volunteering at the Fearless Food Kitchen from helping with the open house earlier in the summer to cleaning and scrubbing the kitchen to get it ready for inspection. You’ll see her helping out with the classes as well when the kitchen opens! Cid, stop in to Matty K’s for some well-deserved seed packets for being so...

Sean Carr

We praise the big milestones our gardens go through, and the individuals who helps make them happen! This series of posts is to give shout outs to the unsung heroes that make those milestones happen. JFK said, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” And these people not only try, they do – remarkably and repeatedly – make a difference in ways big and small. Through October 15, we are celebrating the individuals who make your garden a success and make Peterson Garden Project work. Each week, we’ll tell the story of one of our amazing volunteers. And, as a small thank you, they will be able to pick out a pair of wonderful Wells-Lamont gloves from Matty K’s – our local hardware store. This week we would like to recognize Sean Carr! Sean has been volunteering with us ever since he walked by Ashlandia during a work day and offered to help. He is always willing to lend a hand to help out his community, and we are so happy to have him as a volunteer! Sean, stop in to Matty K’s for a well-deserved pair of free gloves for being so...

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