Kohl’s corporate headquarters is located in Menomonee Falls, WI, nearby the world-renown urban farming organization, Growing Power. Over the years, Kohl’s associates regularly volunteered with Growing Power and Kohl’s management provided grants and donations to support its mission. In 2009, Kohl’s decided to bring some of this growing magic to campus and partnered with Growing Power to install their very own Kohl’s Garden.
The garden, which is approximately 45 ft. x 90 ft., includes eight raised beds and is located just off a parking lot on a narrow strip of land. Growing Power installed the garden beds and brought in compost, soil, and seedlings. Each year thereafter, the organization has provided soil and seedlings to refresh the garden. Because of the garden’s location near pavement and street debris, the soil needs to be replaced each year.
During the first few years of the garden’s operation, Kohl’s sustainability team and other associates harvested the fresh produce and donated it to the Local Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee. They put up flyers around campus asking associates to volunteer for fifteen-minute watering and harvest shifts. When Sous Chef John Raymond arrived on campus and brought along his passion for gardening and Farm to Fork ingredients, the Kohl’s team decided to change courses and feature the produce in the Bon Appétit managed campus café.
Over the years, the garden has blossomed into a lasting partnership between Kohl’s, the Bon Appétit cafés on campus, and Growing Power. The fruits of the collaborative effort are the garden-fresh tomatoes, melons, peppers, and edible flowers featured in the cafés during the growing season.