A year of transcendence.... 2020 ....transforming problems into opportunities
The Gardens at Unity Village continues its quest to enrich the quality of food available to our local community and others in need. We need your support.
In the face of continuing concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic and the scheduled reconstruction of Colbern Rd, The Gardens face upcoming challenges. We will be bigger than our circumstances, just as was the case in 2020.
Your financial gift will not only enhance our capacity to sustain our endeavors, but will personally provide validation, strength and energy to each and every one of our dedicated volunteers. Since its origin in 2009, The Gardens remains an exclusively volunteer driven organization with no paid employees.
Colbern Road, which is the single access to our facilities will undergo a considerable makeover transitioning to a boulevard with four lanes plus dedicated turn lanes and a median with lighting. In the long run this will help open up the development of the acreage on the south side of Colbern Rd and will create more traffic. This is a long-term positive for The Gardens. The short term, however, will present logistical issues and will likely reduce the volume of customers to our Market Stand, which is the key revenue stream that provides The Gardens with the cash assets it needs to operate.
We have worked with Lee’s Summit city planners to provide paved access to us during this project, but only from one direction at any one time. Strategies are being considered and will be implemented to overcome this impediment. After adjusting very successfully to the demands of Covid-19 in 2020, we are confident we can maximize the opportunity to serve the public over the next two years given the conditions we will need to manage. This all goes to say that your financial support is even more meaningful now.
2020…A year of challenges, setbacks, recoveries and success
• Covid-19 required a complete reset of our process of serving customers and this may continue next spring as well. The Gardens created a very efficient drive-thru process while all volunteers dealing with the public wore masks and gloves. We continued to assess and tweak. Amazingly our gross and net proceeds exceeded 2019 and we received very positive feedback from an appreciative public.
• The expansion of the equipment shed in our garden area was completed and can now shelter all of our rolling equipment. Not long after its completion, a 70 MPH straight windstorm caused a great deal of damage to the shed. Our insurance settlement was sufficient to reconstruct.
• In early spring before the just after the shed expansion, burglars stole five ATV’s off the property. All five were owned by volunteers, not The Gardens. Three of the local TV stations did audio/video reports. Public support resulted in contributions sufficient for The Gardens to purchase its own ATV. • A security system has been developed which includes 24/7 video surveillance, access barriers from Colbern Road during non-activity periods, and deterrence signage. More measures are planned.
• Our Volunteer base (people who engage actively on a regular basis) increased from 29 to 34.
• Our beekeeping operation improved, almost tripling its 2019 harvest.
• Our average Saturday Market Stand income increased despite shift from our normal out of car foot traffic to drive through only process.
• Increased the yield of produce from our gardening program such that it reduced our reliance on procurement of produce from the Central Missouri Produce Auction.
• Forged a collaborative relationship with After the Harvest KC, a non-profit organization which furnishes fresh local food to area pantries and institutions who serve those in need. We donated nearly a ton of produce for them to distribute this year and will continue.
Strategic plans for 2021
• Manage logistics and create impactful promotion of the Market Stand during the Colbern Road reconstruction, which will allow access to us but only from one direction. We estimate that at least 40% of our revenue on Saturday results from drive by traffic—customers who did not necessarily have the intention of visiting and were attracted to the Market Stand. This dynamic will not be in play in 2021 and is not likely to be in play in 2022.
• Expand the canopy over the Market Stand even further to accommodate more activity.
• Continue to increase the volume of honey harvested from our hives.
• Continue to improve the volume of produce harvested from our garden program.
• Continue to increase our canning operation in terms of product volume and variety.
• Develop a more efficient cool room to preserve food longer and in larger volume. (We have already received a commitment of over $3000 from a local family charitable trust to make this happen.)
2020 was a very stressful year not only for us, but likely for you as well. It appears none of our volunteers have been infected by the Coronavirus and pray you have fared well also. We hope this is not too big an ask to appeal for your financial support given the pervasive financial challenges many face during these times. Yet we do reach out in good faith and request your support.
Ways to give
Mail a check to The Gardens at Unity Village, 150B NW Colbern Rd, Lee’s Summit MO 64086. Of course, donations to The Gardens are fully tax deductible. The Gardens is a designated 501(c)(3) not-for profit. (EIN 27-0369971).
God bless you and yours for a safe and merry Christmas and a 2021 filled with an abundance of peace, love and prosperity.
The Gardens at Unity Village 150B NW Colbern Road Lee's Summit, MO 64085 email@example.com