Ten Salesforce employees traveled to Carson, NM from Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver to support the mission of Veterans Off-Grid (VOG) by building the foundation of a green house on the 50-acre growing sustainable veterans community. VOG, was founded by Army veteran Ryan Timmermans, and his mission is to teach veterans sustainable building skills, and to give them a sense of purpose and community at the end of their service. VOG is particularly focused on helping veterans who are homeless, with PTSD and in need of mental health treatment.
Salesforce enables and encourages their employees to give back to their communities and causes that are important to them. Employees are given 7 days off a year to volunteer, opportunities to apply for team grants and offers donation matches up to $2,500 per year. Through internal promotion of this volunteer opportunity, VOG friend and supporter Glo Cannon and team recruited 9 other employees (Ohana) to join her on this mission, and was awarded a $5,000 team grant to support the project funding.
Together, the Salesforce team cut rebar, jack-hammered and dug 26 post holes, mixed and poured concrete, leveled a double-sloped site and assembled 13 trusses. And, while waiting for cement to dry learned the laborious task of pounding tires with dirt, that form the foundation wall of the near-by Earthship also under construction on the site. While the green house wasn’t completely assembled, the hard-work is done and the foundation is laid for the next volunteer group to complete the build. Navigate to the ‘Take Action’ page to sign up to volunteer and help complete the build and continue the mission!
Food production is an essential part of a sustainable community and a green house at 6,900 feet elevation can extend the growing season by 2 months on each end. Snowfall can start as early as October and freezing temps can continue through April. A Walapini (an under-ground green house) is also under construction on the site.
Special thanks to our inspiration and founder Ryan Timmermans, Taos local design engineer and project manager Shawn Ludwig, and to the following Salesforce Ohana who invested their time and for their commitment to participating in the build: Tommy Edwy, Colleen Cook, Rhonda O’Neill, Alex Aruj, Liz Stupay, Yen Le, Michelle Kloberdanz, Alicia Kaufmann and Lindsay DuRussel. It was a particular rewarding experience to work alongside veterans Bjorn Wolf, Sylvester Gobert and Colby Carson, and with community residents and friends of VOG: Troy, Keith Reed, Kenny, Brian and Dave. We also enjoyed the company of the Taos Dogs Savannah, King, Apache, Momma, and Tommy’s honorary Taos dog Gunner!
“Together we laid the foundation for a greenhouse with Veterans Off-Grid. We also made lasting friendships. It was a unique privilege to work with veterans and Salesforce colleagues to help an amazing community thrive. Thank you to Ryan, Gloria, VOG and the Salesforce team for making this project happen!” - Alex Aruj, Salesforce Ohana and Team Member