The Bounty of Fruit: The Urban Farmers

The Urban Farmers

Have you heard about this fantastic Bay Area non-profit? 

In their own words The Urban Farmers “…are a grassroots, all-volunteer, non-profit organization in the East Bay of San Francisco. It is our goal to deliver solutions that address the needs of the people and the planet we inhabit. We harvest backyard fruit for the needy (and along the way do a few other related things like plant and maintain fruit trees) but our focus is on local hunger relief.” 

As a community based solution to the persistent problem of hunger the Urban Farmers gleaning project attempts to make excess food available for those who need it most.  Their gleaning efforts are so awesome that two years ago they earned the 2010 Diablo Eco Award from Diablo Magazine.

How does it work?  Here’s what the Urban Farmer says:

1- Register your tree with us. (On the website  you can click on the orange tree to do so)

2- We will contact you.

3- You keep an eye on the tree and let us know when the fruit is ripe

4- We will coordinate a gleaning day with you

5- Our volunteers will harvest your fruit, leave what you want and take the rest to the food bank or a local charity.

If you prefer to harvest your own fruit and all you need is transportation to the food bank, that’s fine too.

 

What a great idea!  We here at Cleary Bros. also believe in strengthening communities and are happy to share this organization with you.  To register your fruit tree and for more information click HERE .

Top 150 Companies in the Market – Lawn & Landscape

Cleary Bros among the top companies 2012

Cleary Brothers among the top companies

Fighting the RecessionFinancial crisis or not, optimism and ambitions of continued growth remain the hallmarks of many of this year’s Top 150.Success can be measured in any number of ways. In business, it’s often all about the revenue. And these companies – five of the 150 on Lawn & Landscape magazine’s list of the highest revenue-generating firms in the U.S. – have that. But sometimes it’s about more than the numbers.As you’ll learn from the organizations profiled here, success, particularly in a tough economy, is also about the way a company rises to face a challenge. All five of these organizations are poised to stand their ground in the face of uncertain economic conditions. They may not bring in quite as much cash as in past years, but it’s still all systems go. For Swingle Lawn, Tree and Landscape Care in Denver, it means implementing a rational response plan to guide decision-making in every area of the company. The management team at Gothic Grounds Management in Valencia, Calif., knows when to enlist outside help – in this case, a group of savvy MBA students. For Heads Up Landscape Contractors in Albuquerque, it’s all about saving money by reducing green waste and water use. Dixie Landscape Co. in Miami relies on an internal lean team to trim spending. And Becker Landscape in Indianapolis has discovered that the secret to its success lies in investing in employees – financially and emotionally. But don’t take our word for it. See for yourself how these five companies are redefining the notion of “success,” and steal one of their ideas or let them inspire you to come up with a recession-fighting solution in today’s turbulent times. Become Financially WiseWant productive, focused employees? Take financial worries off of their minds like Becker Landscape Contractors does.Today, more than ever, CEO Larry Becker believes in putting his workforce first. That’s why, beginning this month, the 32-year-old, $14 million, Indianapolis-based Becker Landscape Contractors is providing employees with personal finance training. Called “Financial Peace: Workplace Edition,” it’s a voluntary, 12-week course designed to teach employees about debt reduction and household cash management.“One of the goals is to make our staff more financially wise,” Becker points out.Many of the company’s approximately 130 employees have signed up for the course, which is open to spouses as well. To allow couples to attend, the sessions will be held in managers’ homes after work, with childcare provided by the company. Each session focuses on a topic related to money management principles. “We talk about how to balance a checkbook and other basics, and the majority of our labor force hasn’t had this training,” Becker explains. “Even people who are more money savvy want in on it so they can make strides in their personal financial lives.”The company launched a pilot program in October 2008. Dave Ramsey, the owner and creator of “Financial Peace,” is a well-known debt reduction expert, host of the nationally syndicated radio program The Dave Ramsey Show and author of books including The Total Money Makeover. “He’s smart and easy to listen to,” says Jeffrey Fox, director of human resources for the company. The employees who participated in the pilot program will lead the fall courses for their peers.Employee packets for the program cost $150 to $160 per employee. Participants can pay the company for their packets in installments tailored to fit their financial situation. “We want our employees to pay some of it so they’re committed,” Fox says. The company is footing the bill for facilitator materials and childcare – costs that are well worth it to Becker. “We’re going to get better retention and smarter, savvier employees,” he says. “Anytime they’re in a situation where they’re in a learning mode that raises their self-worth.”Also, “if we can help our employees become at peace with their finances, they’re going to be more focused, productive and efficient when they’re here,” Fox adds.“Financial Peace” is just one component of the program. “We’re an open management company – balance sheet information is shared monthly and weekly,” Becker says. “So employees are aware of where the company is financially as well as where their finances are personally.” Get Cost-Effective Outside HelpWhen Gothic Grounds Management decided it was time to grow, they got serious. And they got help … from UCLA MBA students.Nick DePasquale The UCLA’s Applied Management Research Program offers MBA students an opportunity to complete in-depth strategic studies for participating companies.Valencia, Calif.’s Gothic Grounds Management joined the group because “we wanted a fresh look at the business,” says Nick DePasquale, the company’s vice president and a UCLA alum. “We felt the MBA students were at the cutting edge and would be more in touch with newer systems.” Plus, working with the students was a more cost-effective option than hiring a typical consultant – Gothic Gr

Article from Lawn and Landscape magazine

Property Highlight: The Villages in Walnut Creek

 

Cleary Bros has been maintaining and enhancing the Villages HOA in Walnut Creek for over 10 years.   The Villages have trusted in our maintenance crews, enhancement crews as well as our tree department to create a true park like setting with the common streetscape areas.  “Landscaping like this not only brings up our home resale values but also the enjoyment of living here,” says Carol H of the Landscape Committee.  Partnering and creating long term relationships with our clients has always proven to be a win win relationship.  It takes care attention to understand all the idiosyncrasies of the landscape within a large property as well as the true goals of the residents and owners.   We strongly feel that it is our job to do both!

Happy Independence Day, America!

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.”  We couldn’t agree more and we hope that in our little corner of the landscape world we too can be really great and inspiring for you as well.

 

Cleary Bros. would like to wish you a very happy 4th of July!  May your celebrations of freedom be filled with fun, food, family, friends and fantastic fireworks!

 

Jensen Ranch Elementary School student garden

We recently teamed up with Anneke Gaul, a volunteer coordinator for Jensen Ranch Elementary School, to help implement a student garden. Located within Palomares HOA, one of our Castro Valley maintenance accounts, this installation proved to be a fun and (forgive the pun) “fruitful” project. Watching the kids’ excitement as construction progressed was inspirational to our crew and the hundreds of drawings and thank you notes we received from the students have been amazing to read through. Thank you Jensen Ranch for asking us to be part of this project and for welcoming us into your community.

 

This plaque was installed at the garden after the project was completed.  We think it looks fantastic!

 

The garden before.  This space was begging to realize it’s potential. All it needed was a little TLC!

 

Two memebers of the crew trenching away.  Way to go team!

 

The all volunteer crew: Alberto, Juan, Martin, Mayolo and Joel.  What a great group of guys!

 

The garden project at completion.  Can you believe it?!  Looks fanastic!

 

A thank you letter from a student.  We’re thinking this little one has a very specific planting plan in mind for the new space. (We love strawberries, too!)

 

We’re flattered- we made the marquee!  Wow, Jensen Ranch.  Thank YOU for the opportunity!

Profile: Kyle Sato

Kyle comes to Cleary Bros. as a recent graduate from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Natural Resources and a minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). When asked about Cleary Bros,  “I am enjoying every minute of it!”

As our resident GIS Inventory Specialist, Kyle uses a GPS to plot tree locations within 50cm; he then uses this information to create site specific maps displaying different characteristics of those trees. With all the measurements and details Kyle collects, he can compile and extract the data to provide information at a moment’s notice.  This information takes large project planning to a higher level!

One of Kyle’s greatest life accomplishments was becoming an Eagle Scout. While in school he was on the Cal Poly Logging team; where his team competed against other universities in Timber Sports. He competed in many events that involved chopping, cross-cut sawing, chain sawing, and various technical events. During his time off, you can either find him fishing, sailing, camping, cooking outdoors, or riding his ATV.

For a free demonstration of our GIS inventory and mapping system please give us a call – it is truly awesome!