Monday, November 26, 2007

How Long Will It Take

(...I've been waiting for a long time).

Seems we've lapsed into the never before seen and completely unprecedented, let's-take-a-weekly-blog-and-umm-say-we-really -decided-it-functioned-better-as-a-monthly-you-see-ahem

hey, we've been busy, we're all changing our names to cesar chavez, and you can't stop us; lose many, win some, winsome. Here are some of our wins, lately (losses to be shared later on the page):

  • Labor Hours Sold: slow december begins, and we're proud to say we've sold verde's services every available day from July 1st to the end of the calendar year. The sincerest gratitude and credit to the Verde Native Plant Nursery Crew, regular and temporary, for embracing this hardest of work and doing it better than well, for working in the rain and the cold and the hornets and the heat to make these kinds of transformations:

NE 38th & NE Tillamook Green St. filtering stormwater in Portland's Hollywood neighborhood

Lovena Farms, SE Portland, in the Johnson Creek Watershed, invasive plants removed and ready for native plants

  • Revenue Sharing: Yes, by gum & land o' goshen, we did it. Because we met our goals, we'd excess revenue, and we distributed half of it, also known as $4649, in the form of cash bonuses to them hard-working crew members based on hours worked (if you know a better way, lemme know/keep it to your damn self). Yee-oouch, hurts good. It was a big day, and a promise kept.
  • Community Members on Verde's Board. In November, Maria Gastelun and Brenda Reyes, mother and daughter, community advocates and leaders, and long-time residents of Hacienda CDC housing, joined Verde's Board of Directors. There to teach and to learn and to teach, their experiences will guide Verde and the Nursery as we share our lessons with our community, building awareness that plenty of people make a good living protecting the environment, so why can't we?
OK, so, here's what's not working as well as we'd like. We're walking, but we'd like to run. We're not low-skilled, we're semi-skilled, and it's the highly skilled that earn rates which support the kind of wages we must pay.

So, we now begin the hardest part of our life-so-far.

We've got to keep the work coming in, even if it doesn't pay $35/hour, even if it kills our margins.

We've got to subsidize the margins however we can, because we have to keep the crew together so they continue to build skills and cohesion.

We've got to keep them together and build these skills because we've got irons in the fire, people in affordable housing, in greenstreets, in on-site stormwater management, in environmental groups who want want want to work with us, and we're turning the wheels to get there, and one day one or two or lots of those well-paying gigs are going to pop out and...

...and we need to be ready