As a child, you could say I grew up in the garden! I spent many days helping to harvest fresh green beans, tomatoes and kale grown from my grandfather’s backyard, as well as time with my grandmother canning in the kitchen. Staying strong to his farming roots, my grandfather maintained a large vegetable garden for 30 years where he would share the crops with family and neighbors. Today, I continue to share a passion for food and giving back, and have brought that full circle living out the mission of growing and sharing as part of the Kraft family.
As we celebrate the first day of Spring, the Kraft Makers Garden will soon begin the 2015 growing season.
Increasing access to food and nutrition. It’s a mission that’s been woven into the fabric of who we are and what we do at Kraft for decades. In this effort, we are leveraging the power of our people, products and partnerships to address food insecurity in North America. And in 2011, we started growing (literally) a sustainable solution to hunger in our own backyard.
Located at our HQ campus, Kraftown, located just north of Chicago, is the Makers Garden. We grow and harvest fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs – all of which is donated to local hunger-relief agencies in our community.
As one of the largest North American food and beverage companies, fighting hunger across the U.S. and Canada is imperative for us. And being based in Chicagoland – where 1 in 6 people is food insecure – we knew we had to do something about it. So, in 2011, together with the Chicago Botanic Garden and its Windy City Harvest Program, we launched our 8,000-square-foot garden in the soil of our company headquarters in Northfield, Ill. Our employees also get their hands dirty too! They volunteer in the garden during growing season – planting and harvesting together.
We’re so proud to say that 100-percent of the fresh food we harvest from the Makers Garden is donated to local food pantries (many of which are in Feeding America’s network) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) centers.
To date, the garden has produced more than 36,000 pounds of fresh produce. And we’re working to make that number even larger in 2015 as we earn a place in our community.
For us, it’s not just about getting food to those facing hunger. It’s about providing access to healthy, nutritious food for everyone.
The Makers Garden is just one of our many efforts across North America to tackle hunger and promote nutrition. The fight against hunger isn’t one that any organization, any company, can win alone. We’re so grateful for partners like Feeding America who collaborate with us to find sustainable, innovative solutions to battling food insecurity and getting fresh, nutritious food to those in need.
The Makers Garden is another example of how Kraft is earning a place in our community.
Leah Bradford is Associate Director, Community Involvement at Kraft and President, Kraft Foods Group Foundation. In these roles, she leads Kraft’s philanthropic initiatives in hunger-relief, humanitarian aid and employee civic engagement across North America.