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Cargill employees hatch hope by building chicken coop for local Minnesota non-profit, Urban Ventures

July 12, 2019

On a hot Minnesotan day in May, seven Cargill Animal Nutrition Global Office (CAN GO) employees grabbed their shovels and hammers to build and donate a chicken coop to a local Minneapolis non-profit, Urban Ventures. The team brought Hatching Hope to life through the power of poultry in their community.

Urban Ventures operates a farm just outside of Minneapolis, providing visitors a holistic experience in nutrition and agriculture by planting, growing, harvesting, eating, preserving and taking produce home. The non-profit also distributes produce to surrounding low-income families with its Mobile Farmers Market Truck and Farm Stand.

Employees digging and building the fencing around the coop“Already a community enrichment partner for our CAN GO employees, the Urban Ventures team expressed interest in expanding their inventory beyond produce,” shared Dan Burke, vice president, Cargill Aqua Nutrition. “They shared the desire to improve the community’s nutrition by providing sources of protein. We saw this as a natural opportunity to get involved.”

The team accepted the challenge of building a chicken coop for 60 laying hens on Urban Ventures’ farm.

Employees putting the awning on the coop and building the fencing around the coop“We repurposed a livestock trailer that was donated to the organization into a chicken coop,” shared Tom Pierson, business process manager, Cargill Feed & Nutrition (CFN). “I appreciated the team’s creativity and resourcefulness to repurpose donated materials into something functional. This was an efficient, low-budget but high-impact project, and I hope other teams learn from our experience that is doesn’t always take a lot of money to still make a big impact in a community.”

The CAN GO team converted the trailer into a coop by adding doors, a ramp, and an awning, assembled poultry nests, and lined fencing around the coop. And, to help kick-start their operations, the CFN business in the U.S. donated three tons of feed.

Assembled chicken coop and fencing“This project gave me insight into how, even in developed economies, poultry through our Hatching Hope program, can teach people about sustainable agriculture, the economics behind farming and the importance of a well-balanced diet,” shared Chuck Thorn, finance leader, Cargill Premix & Nutrition. “Hatching Hope isn’t just for developing countries, it’s applicable around the globe.”

Now that Urban Ventures has capacity for 60 laying hens, they’ll be able to collect up to four dozen eggs per day – adding a great source of high-quality protein to their Mobile Farmers Market Truck and Farm Stand. 

Urban Ventures participants working with the chickens in the coop