we’ve had an employee garden at organic valley for years and have mostly small mountains of garlic for the past few years.
this year we joined forces with other gardeners and dubbed ourselves the cosmos organicos garden collective and have about 12 active beds that contain all manner of Good Things – garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, toooooons of salad greens, onions, broccoli, squash, tomatillos and on and on and on. it’s been a lot of fun working with five other wise and industrious green thumbs to keep on top of the chores. in the end it’s been less work than “going it alone” as we’ve done in the past. i think we’ll definitely continue on as part of the group effort next year. who knows maybe we’ll continue to grow and eventually the entire space will be managed by the collective 🙂
in the background, you can see the work being done on headquarters after the fire.
here’s the view from the other end of the garden. i wish i could figure out how to take the close up of each bed and stitch them together in a panorama to show end to end view. it’s quite a garden – the power of the collective!
for the past 10 years, organic valley has held the kickapoo country fair at our headquarters in la farge wisconsin. this year was extra special because it’s our 25th anniversary and we had the fire at hq which are as good a reasons as any to come together with the surrounding community and folks who travel from far and wide.
kris and i couldn’t get out the fair until the evening and arrived just in time to catch cultivate, a band of current and former employees, who played at our 25th anniversary party at a trade show. they sounded great and really got the crowd going!
cloud cult went on after cultivate. while the band bills itself as hailing from minneapolis, some of the members moved to a farmstead near my hometown,viroqua.
while i’m certainly familiar with the band and have some of their cds and enjoy their recorded material, i was completely unprepared to be totally blown away by their live show. it was really and truly and incredible show. almost beyond words. the videos don’t do any justice to seeing them live. if you get the chance to see them live, do it!
some of the band members create paintings while performing.
after the music, a local troupe of fire performers put on an excellent show to close out the night. if only i had my camera ready to catch the “grand finale”!
we’ve been going to the kickapoo country fair for the past 7 years and this was definitely the best ever. big kudos to everyone who helped pull it off even with the fire and big thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the fair!
after the fire at organic valley headquarters, we’re still figuring out where the displaced folks are going to end up for an extended period of time. for a short period of time some of us ended up in odin’s waldorf school, which also used to be a the public school so it has the “feel” of both worlds. in some ways, it feels just like a school i might have gone to when i was a was a kid. and in other ways it feels like a waldorf school. they sure know how to put a chalkboard to good use!
yes, i’ve literally been sent to first grade room. odin never tires of saying, “ok bye! have fun in first grade!” when i leave the house in the morning. all things considered, it’s not bad at all expecially considering it’s only a half a block from my house. and, on occasion, i get to sit in the hallway on linoleum floors and almost feel like i could be back in grade school while listening to listening to violin practice.
but it’s only temporary, they have to get the school ready for the kids coming back in the fall and we have to find more appropriate digs while the headquarters gets rebuilt.
it’s been just a few days after the fire at organic valley headquarters, but the clean-up ( and soon rebuild ) process is well under way. the parking lot is filled with yellow servicemaster fire and water damage recovery vehicles. the left (west) side from the red gambrel of the building is a total loss, but the right (east) side is salvageable to varying degrees.
the far right side is a new 33,000 square foot addition which was not significantly damaged and may be able to house employees quite quickly after getting a thorough cleaning.
the west end of the building suffered significant damage is will be razed and rebuilt. the fire is still smoldering and flared up last night causing the local volunteer fire department to come back out and douse it with 500,000 gallons of water at 2 a.m.
of course, this whole mess is very personal since i work here! but it’s extra personal to know that kris’ desk is right smack in the middle of this picture on the 2nd floor. so, thankful that she was not in the building and that everyone else got out safely.
the day after the fire at organic valley headquarters some emplyees who had work areas that weren’t destroyed or in structurally unsound areas were let back into the building for a few minutes to gather “critical” documents.
not wanting to be in the building for too long since there was a line of people waiting to get in after me, i gathered a few things that i needed for work and left a lot of other stuff thinking that i’d get another chance to get it. that chance never came since later that day officials announced that employees were not allowed back into the building and i was really bummed out because i left a painting that odin made for me when he was six that’s been hanging near my desk for several years.
i am so thankful that good samaritan who was allowed into the building grabbed the painting from my desk a day later!
sadly, there was a fire at organic valley headquarters yesterday that damaged the west portion of the building pretty badly. luckily, kris and i were not in the building when it was evacuated around 4:10pm. i left at 4:05 in the rideshare van back to viroqua with my computer and phone to get prepared to leave town for a few days for a department retreat. so i’m lucky to have a computer an an internet connection and can keep calm and carry on from home while we figure out the next steps.
looking at the damage from the fire today, i’m so very thankful that everyone got out of the building and that nobody was hurt. while certainly sad to see the damage, property is – of course – replaceable and rebuildable and i have no doubt that the cleanup and rebuild will happen quickly. fortunately, our distribution center and other facilities are fully operational and we have contingency plans in progress so we are able to continue to deliver all the wonderful products you love 🙂
it’s been awesome to hear all the expressions of support from the community, around the state and around the country. i know it really does mean a lot to me and all the other employees.
tomorrow i get to go in and recover what i can from my area which is on the 2nd floor to the right next to the new addition all the way to the right and somewhat distanced from the major damage. kris’ desk is on the 2nd floor pretty much right smack dab in the middle of the worst damage. i doubt she’ll be able to recover anything.
my understanding is that while the rest of the floor looks like a bomb went off, my relatively notorious leaning stack of papers that i’ve been meaning to clean up any day now for the past year that has always been threatening to teeter over is still standing and still threatening to teeter over.
you can view the large version of the panorama to get a better sense of the damage.