12

Jul

Employee Gardens: Win-Win


This editorial ran in The Oklahoman on July 3rd.

The support of our corporate sponsors in Oklahoma is great, and because of that support we are able to continue our mission of “Fighting Hunger…Feeding Hope.”

One of our most ardent supporters, Chesapeake Energy, has found yet another way to help nonprofits such as ours, while engaging their employees and impacting the community.  The Chesapeake Employee Garden is an idea we hope will be adopted and replicated by companies of all sizes throughout the state.

Simply put, it’s a garden established by Chesapeake and grown, harvested and enjoyed by members of Chesapeake’s Green Thumb Club. All excess produce will be distributed to organizations such as the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

Specifically, Chesapeake has set up a “sustainable” garden on a full city block between Shartel and Lee Avenues and NW 62nd and 61st streets, featuring raised bed plots reserved for planting and harvesting a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers.

The Green Thumb Club has 56 teams of Chesapeake employees who work individual plots and five common beds for shared crops of cane berries, strawberries, asparagus, cut flowers and herbs.

Throughout the garden, a “sustainable approach,” is employed, encouraging focus on the health and vitality of the soil while providing plants with the optimum condition for growth, and increasing resistance to pests and diseases. All participants have attended a ‘Basics of Sustainable Gardening’ course.

Chesapeake’s Green Thumb Club is comprised of all skill levels of gardeners and allows employees and their families to hone their gardening techniques in a fun and enjoyable community setting. Garden participants will be provided educational classes, resources and guidance throughout the seasons.

We encourage organizations of all sizes to follow Chesapeake’s lead and institute their own employee garden. You don’t need an entire city block or hundreds of employees to have a productive and beautiful garden.  The benefits for your company and employees include: improving the quality of life for garden participants; stimulating social interaction; encouraging self-reliance; producing nutritious food for employee families and for local nonprofit organizations; reducing family food costs; conserving resources; creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education; promoting green initiatives and adding a unique and visually appealing aspect to your company setting.

The employee garden is a win for your company, a win for your employees and a win for the community. As we salute Chesapeake Energy for establishing an employee garden, we look forward to doing the same with others as employee gardens spring up throughout the state.

For more information on starting a community garden in the workplace, visit our Urban Harvest page or contact Bruce Edwards at bedwards@regionalfoodbank.org or 405-604-7108.

Rodney Bivens

Rodney Bivens

Rodney Bivens is the Executive Director of the Regional Food Bank. He founded the organization in 1980.
Read more articles by Rodney


12

Jul


On June 29, Chesapeake Energy employees gathered to celebrate the dedication of the Chesapeake Employee Garden. In addition to a special presentation from CEO Aubrey McClendon and a Native American blessing by Chief Gordon Yellowman, employees sipped on organic micro-brew and listened to the bluegrass melodies of Buffalo Fitz.


From pepper plants to marigolds, the garden offers a multitude of vegetation while providing the opportunity to be more personally sustainable in a fun, collaborative space, as well as showing employees and their families and friends how to grow a successful garden and prepare meals with the produce.

All gardening levels are welcome – from beginners to avid gardeners. Participants make up what is referred to as the Green Thumb Club and employees and their family members can hone their gardening techniques in a community setting. Through the process, garden participants are with provided educational classes, resources and professional guidance.

Gardening doesn’t serve just as an alternate way to fill one’s refrigerator. Gardening stimulates social interaction, reduces food costs, conserves resources, encourages self-reliance, and creates opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education – conveniently located near Chesapeake’s main campus.

The Chesapeake Employee Garden is located between Shartel and Lee avenues and NW 62nd and 61st streets and is comprised of raised bed plots reserved for planting and harvesting a wide range of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Two garden quadrants share a central common area including a rinsing and cleaning area and an outdoor table and seating area for gardeners to socialize, share tips and take a break from the summer heat.

Any excess produce will be donated to Food Bank and partner agencies like BritVil Community Food Pantry.

For more information, e-mail employeegarden@chk.com. See more photos of the garden on Flickr!

Natalie Wright

Natalie Wright

Natalie Wright is the Marketing Coordinator at the Regional Food Bank. Natalie manages social media for the organization. Connect with her on Twitter (@rfbo) and Facebook!
Read more articles by Natalie


25

Nov

Happy Thanksgiving!


I’m really looking forward to getting together with family and friends around a great meal for Thanksgiving tomorrow. But I can’t help but think about the thousands of families here in central and western Oklahoma who won’t have enough to eat.

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is committed to ensuring every Oklahoman has a reason to celebrate this holiday season – including the opportunity to gather around the table with loved ones for a special meal. No one should go without during the holidays.

Because of the great need we’re facing, Chesapeake Energy has generously offered to match your holiday giving to the Regional Food Bank – up to $50,000 – until December 31. Normally, every $1 you give becomes 7 meals for those in need. But through this matching gift challenge, every $1 will provide 14 meals!

Thank you for all you do. I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season!

- Rodney Bivens, Executive Director

Natalie Wright

Natalie Wright

Natalie Wright is the Marketing Coordinator at the Regional Food Bank. Natalie manages social media for the organization. Connect with her on Twitter (@rfbo) and Facebook!
Read more articles by Natalie


18

Nov

Double Your Donation This Holiday Season!


Because the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is experiencing greater demands for food than ever before Chesapeake is offering its support on a grand scale by offering a $50,000 challenge match to the community at-large!

Donations received between now and the end of the year will have twice the impact on the fight against hunger. Normally, the Regional Food Bank provides $14 worth of food for every dollar donated. Thanks to this $50,000 matching gift from Chesapeake, one dollar will now provide $28 worth of food for those in need, with the potential of providing 700,000 meals to hungry Oklahomans this winter!

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Giving back and helping build stronger communities are among Chesapeake’s founding principles and vital to every area we serve. By providing this match to donations made to the Food Bank the company hopes the community will respond and offer support to those most in need this holiday season – the 500,000 Oklahomans going hungry each week.

We hope that everyone who has the capacity to give will take advantage of this opportunity to donate and to double the impact of their gift this holiday season!

In addition to this match, Chesapeake will be hosting a canned food drive on the OKC corporate campus this Wednesday – Friday, November 18 – 20 and will be accepting non-perishable food items. For more information on how to donate, contact Katie Collins at (405) 935-1416.

- Teresa Rose, Director of Community Relations at Chesapeake Energy

Natalie Wright

Natalie Wright

Natalie Wright is the Marketing Coordinator at the Regional Food Bank. Natalie manages social media for the organization. Connect with her on Twitter (@rfbo) and Facebook!
Read more articles by Natalie


7. “Nom nom nom” is so fun to say. Everyone should have the right to say it genuinely, not just the cookie monster!
cookie-monster
(HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SESAME STREET!)

6. Purge your guilt! How could you eat a turkey covered in gravy, mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, and pumpkin and pecan pie without even considering that some people are going hungry? That’s right – you just can’t!
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5. A donation to the Food Bank is a great family-friendly conversation for your family Thanksgiving dinner. Won’t cha mamma be so proud of you?? And you can avoid topics like your unpaid college loans, the bad economy, and for all the single ladies: your boyfriend who is yet to propose. (Sing it, Beyonce: “Oh oh oh…”)
beyonce

4. Word on the street is that there are still some zombies hanging out from the Gazette’s Ghouls Gone Wild parade last month. They are likely to find, bite and convert those who are unfriendly to the charities they support. (Didn’t you hear? The Gazette likes us!)

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3. Not only should you donate, but you should also do some extensive research on hunger in Oklahoma. I hear Graham Colton (insert swoon) is in town for his Thanksgiving show and really likes talking about the Food Bank!

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2. Consider it an executive order; President Barack Obama can’t stop talking about food banks. “Once you’ve volunteered at a food bank, it’s hard not to care about poverty and unemployment,” he was recently quoted as saying.

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1. And it’s a tax write off. Nuff said.

Donate now! Now thru December 31, Chesapeake Energy is matching gifts dollar for dollar, up to $50,000!

- Natalie Wright, Marketing & Development Coordinator

Natalie Wright

Natalie Wright

Natalie Wright is the Marketing Coordinator at the Regional Food Bank. Natalie manages social media for the organization. Connect with her on Twitter (@rfbo) and Facebook!
Read more articles by Natalie