Deep Roots Project is a start-up 501c3 that educates and supports local edible gardeners. We received $17,000 from the Big Idea funding competition sponsored by the local community foundation. We received another $10, 000 from the Kott Foundation for a senior/youth gardening project And we just received another $5,000 from the same community foundation to continue planting native gardens in River Forest parkways. Plus, we have an online store that sells the best equipment and products for gardening success.
We spent fall and winter on a series of strategic planning meetings. Since January we have presented 2 successful gardening workshops – Crop Planning and Raised Bed/Container Gardening – as well as a brand new Seedling Pre-ordering project in collaboration with the Good Earth Greenhouse in River Forest. We sold about $1600 of veggie seedling orders in just a few weeks through our online store. A third workshop co-sponsored with the Sugar Beet Food Co-op in Oak Park will be on March 24. An edible gardening soil workshop about the latest soil science will be in April.
We are currently focused on getting more volunteers so we can grow our outreach, members, services and projects. We are planning our Volunteer Gathering and Potluck Dinner at the Good Earth Greenhouse on March 30. See more details about volunteer opportunities.
Our top priority is to find 5 key assistant management volunteers that work closely with our Core Team and each other. We need advice on how to organize our search, choose the right person for the job and train them.
We are working on systems and strategies that will make their work effective, relaxed and fun. Our Core Team has lots of ideas from our strategic planning meetings over fall and winter. For example, we hope to pay part time staff with the income from our online gardening store grants and donations. Increased sales is key to making this possible.
These are the 5 management volunteers we need:
1- Assistant Coordinator of Volunteers
We had a volunteer coordinator who left in Sept who also did event planning. Although managing volunteers is not my main skill set, I’m committed to learning how to manage volunteers effectively until we find someone who has the skills to fully take on this role.
2- Assistant Sales Manager
The assistant manager will be paid commissions on the customers he/she finds and will assist 2 Core Team members – David Murphy and Will Schreiber. David does day-to-day operations of the online store. Will Schreiber will work with the new assistant on sales strategy. I will co-ordinate PR (website, social media, flyers, posters, etc) with the Communication Team.
3- Assistant Outreach Coordinator
This assistant will work with David Murphy on building connections and collaborations with the local community which will include surrounding suburbs and some Chicago neighborhoods.
4- Assistant Event Planner (and general assistant to the core team)
We present 1 to 3 events every month during the growing season. This assistant will work closely with Core Team and the Volunteer Coordinator.
5- Assistant Spreadsheet coordinator
This assistant will work closely with the database expert on our Core Team. We use spreadsheets to keep track of e-newsletter contact lists, volunteers, workshop attendees, customers, supporting organizations and more.