About2018-08-16T14:18:40+00:00
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WHAT WE DO

WE TAKE A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO CREATING CORPORATE GARDENS FOR YOUR WORKFORCE AND TENANTS. OUR WRAP-AROUND SERVICES INCLUDE:

Sustainability

At the heart of Yellow Tractor™ is a deep concern for the earth as well for the lasting productivity of your garden. We strive for sustainability in both regards. Starting from the project design, we make sure that Yellow Tractor™ is the best fit for you and your site. We build rot-resistant, sustainably sourced cedar beds that both support the local Evanston Lumber company and act as a natural pest repellent. We fill these beds with high quality soil from the nearby Midwest Trading company based in Virgil, IL. The plants’ growth is catalyzed with the addition of TerraVesco vermicompost–an professional-grade compost that is OMRI listed and CDFA certified organic. The compost is produced by the breakdown of organic dairy manure by earthworms, producing a microbe-packed, nitrogen-rich soil that requires very little chemical supplementation. We plant only organic seedlings from Montalbano Farms, locally grown for us in Marseilles, Illinois. The result are produce beds that have high yields and require low care.

Engagement

Starting from the initial planting of organic seedlings, Yellow Tractor™ keeps tenants engaged throughout the year with programming and regularly scheduled garden work. We design a calendar of programming that works seamlessly with the culture of your organization. Programs are customized for your specific goals and range from Yellow Tractor Dig Days®, a festive, hands-on learning event surrounding installation, to interactive Cooking-from-the-Garden demonstrations with local and celebrity chefs to health and wellness fairs. Every week, tenants are encouraged to come out to the garden for a guided maintenance and harvest throughout the growing season.

Community

Again and again we’ve watched communities form and strengthen around the creation of and care for Yellow Tractor™ gardens. Our weekly maintenance and harvesting model means a regular, scheduled event that tenants consistently attend. Naturally, a community forms around the garden as people split and share tasks and exchange conversation. Besides anecdotal evidence, many studies done on community gardening have shown the power of interacting in a outdoor setting and the resulting positive effect this has on relationships. In a corporate setting, this encourages interdepartmental interactions that may not occur in the office as well as improving existing relations.

Education

One of Yellow Tractor’s™ core values is to provide lasting education for participants. In practice, this translates to guided events and mobile-optimized access to gardening and nutrition information. We want your tenants to feel a sense of ownership and pride for the gardens, and so offer structured learning opportunities initially through Yellow Tractor Dig Days®, where attendees learn how to plant and care for plants. Following Dig Day®, the education continues through the guided weekly maintenance and harvest days, where a Yellow Tractor™ employee is on site to answer questions and lead the event. Furthermore, we create a monthly email newsletter, The Yellow Tractor Garden Scoop©, that provides garden to-do lists, recipes and updates from the field, optimized for garden participants’ mobile devices for easy access while working in the garden.

Wellness

Everything grown in the beds is for tenants to take home! Our high-quality, organic produce is not only fresher than anything from a grocery store, but is also better for you. Each 4 ft by 8 ft bed produces up to 100 lb or 400 servings of fresh produce per harvest season. Whereas grocery store produce often travels many miles and is artificially ripened post-picking, you can eat our produce as you harvest! Studies have shown that many vitamins and nutrients, like vitamin C, antioxidants or lutein, lose potency in the travel process, especially when mishandled. Plus, the increased availability and access to produce means tenants will more readily consume fresh food and often are inspired to grow their own gardens at home!

SEE US IN ACTION:

WHO WE ARE

MEET THE FACES BEHIND THE GREEN THUMBS

Wendy Irwin
Wendy IrwinFounder
Wendy is a social entrepreneur who’s passionate about people everywhere having the knowledge and access to basic nutrient-rich food. Her work is based on her belief that our health starts with a diet based on whole, clean foods whose origin and journey to the table, we are certain. She sees the proof that without these essential nutrients, our health, performance at work and school and general well being suffers leaving us unable to reach our potential. Thinking through affordable and easy solutions that address this, Wendy has proven that garden-based wellness with year-round programming and ongoing education, just a click away, can cause a paradigm shift, if delivered within proven engagement models where people spend most of their lives, in the workplace.
Heather Blackwell
Heather BlackwellGarden Advisor
Heather adds the gardening expertise to the Yellow Tractor team. She has always been surrounded by and actively involved in gardens. She grew up with an extensive vegetable garden at home as well as frequently visiting her grandfather in Arizona who had 100 acres of citrus. After receiving a BS from the U of Iowa and an M.Ed. from the Erikson Institute in 1987, she turned her attention to educating people about growing food. She joined the The Garden Club of America, the Kenilworth Garden Club and the Chicago Botanic Gardens. She has attended many workshops and classes over the years and most recently received the 2017 GCA Club Horticulture commendation for excellence in the field of horticulture. Yellow Tractor LLC allows her to share her knowledge of plants with other professionals on a more global platform while also supporting Yellow Tractor LLC’s nonprofit arm, The Yellow Tractor Project (a 501-C3).
Rae'Vonne Barnes
Rae'Vonne BarnesOperations Intern
Rae’Vonne is an incoming sophomore at the University of Notre Dame. Though still a bit unsure about majors and minors, she has a passion for community wellness and rehabilitation through gardening. “Rae” is looking forward to a career involving psychology and community rebuilding. She hopes that Yellow Tractor gardens will show people that gardening is a viable form of healing. She is the operations intern for Yellow Tractor.
Leta Dickinson
Leta DickinsonCommunications Intern
Leta attends Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, but grew up in Northern California where weekly farmer’s markets and local produce are a given. The dramatically greater distance between farm and table in Chicago was (and still is) a shock to her, which is why she joined Yellow Tractor. She is double majoring in environmental science and journalism at Northwestern, and incorporates these interests into the mission of Yellow Tractor. She is the communications intern for the company.