Working with NetScout to Improve our Greenhouse

“I wouldn’t really call them mice. Definitely rats. House-cat-sized. This is one of the many trapdoors where they enter.”

Enough! Gaining Ground Farm Managers Kayleigh Boyle and Doug Wolcik vividly brought to life our rodent-ravaged greenhouse in a video to NetScout employees during the final selection stage of their Heart of Giving Community Program. Westford-based NetScout partnered with The Greater Lowell Community Foundation to invite project proposals from regional nonprofits. A committee of NetScout employees reviewed 16 proposals and winnowed them down to three finalists. Each finalist gave a 10-minute pitch and, through a company-wide vote, the employees chose Gaining Ground’s proposal to upgrade our greenhouse.

Throughout the summer, NetScout employees and their families volunteered in our fields and dedicated a full day to the greenhouse project. With their help, we repaired old wiring, eliminated pest access with landscape cloth and a gravel floor, and replaced the plastic cover so it no longer leaks heat or lets in hungry critters. We also added a new shade cloth to better cure fall onions and squash.

Some NetScout employees were unable visit our farm, but that didn’t stop them from making a contribution. During an office lunch break, volunteers assembled containers of dry soup mix and recipe booklets that we then distributed to our partner organizations.

What a community project! We gained so much more than a refurbished greenhouse: we made new friends. In addition to meeting the NetScout employees, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation gave us a very helpful “pitch consultation,” and an expert videographer volunteered her services.

Partnerships like these that creatively combine funding and volunteerism make a huge difference in the ability of nonprofits like Gaining Ground to improve the lives of the people we serve.

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