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.

NEIU team(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).

EY2(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 Hello!Howard Garden. Also in April we’ll have an exciting new partnership with a group that will be (finally) fixing the community area at Global Gardens (watch the Facebook page for the announcement!). We’ll be talking to volunteers from Blue Cross Blue Shield as well at a volunteer fair to learn what they’re looking for and working with them about how they can help teach everyone to grow and cook their own food.

But we love our singletons, too. If you’ve worked with Grow2Give, been to a class at the Community Cooking School, or a clean up day at one of the gardens, you’ve seen the power of volunteers.

And just in case we haven’t said it enough: thank you, volunteers. We say we want to teach everyone to grow and cook their own food, but you’re the ones making it possible.


Do you want to volunteer? Sign up here for a monthly newsletter about upcoming opportunities, or check the Classes and Events page regularly and just sign up for a specific date!