NRECA features Basin’s Backyard Garden

National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association featured Basin’s Backyard Garden in their weekly newsletter. Here is a short excerpt with a link to the full article, Co-op Volunteers Are Making Friends and Easing Hunger With Community Garden.

Lindsey Chumley, Bill Baer, Chris Gessele, Tammy Langerud, Lori Goetzfridt and Tracey Krusi are among the volunteers who worked on Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s community garden program in 2018.

Basin Electric Power Cooperative employees are tapping into North Dakota’s rich agricultural heritage as part of their commitment to help fight hunger in communities around Bismarck.

A community garden on the generation and transmission cooperative’s headquarters campus is managed entirely by co-op volunteers and produces hundreds of pounds of fresh produce for area food pantries each year.

“We plant the garden right around Memorial Day. I start working with our facilities staff to determine needs for the year in April,” said Tracie Bettenhausen, a senior staff writer/editor in Basin Electric’s communications department.

Bettenhausen holds an organizational meeting in the spring as soil temperatures edge toward planting range. Keep reading…


Wrapping up Basin’s Backyard Garden 2016


Today Basin’s Backyard Garden volunteers cleaned up the display they placed at the front of Headquarters almost exactly a month ago.

The crew used corn stalks, one sunflower, and all the pumpkins from the garden. They got the fun gourds from BisMan Community Food Co-op.

The total pounds of food donated in 2016: 964.7 pounds
Total pounds over three years: 2004 pounds
Value overall: priceless

Because of the work done in Basin’s Backyard Garden, people who may not have a garden for any number of reasons got to have the taste of fresh, sweet garden lettuce or a homegrown tomato or a first-ever kohlrabi, and you really can’t put a number on that.




A handful of the helpers: Judy Hojian, Debra Honeyman, Tracie Bettenhausen, Erin Huntimer, Della Mastel, and Lindsey DeKrey.

A handful of the helpers: Judy Hojian, Debra Honeyman, Tracie Bettenhausen, Erin Huntimer, Della Mastel, and Lindsey DeKrey.

Catching up in Basin’s Backyard Garden

When Deb Levchack, Basin Electric retiree, showed up a little early to help out with today’s Basin’s Backyard Garden donation, she didn’t realize the Basin Electric board of directors was in session.

When she stopped in the cafeteria to look for the day’s harvesters, she got to say hi to a bunch of old friends, who were happy to see her smiling face and hear her boisterous laugh.

Today’s harvesters pulled together 19 pounds of radishes, swiss chard, beets, lettuce, cilantro, basil and kohlrabi. Levchak and Andrew Brown took the donation to the Salvation Army.

Harvest July 13 2016

Andrew Brown, Della Mastel, Deb Levchak and Lori Goetzfridt show off today’s harvest.

Basin's Backyard Garden harvest donation

Andrew Brown (right) drops off the garden produce at Salvation Army.

Two sistas planting the Three Sisters

Erin Huntimer and Anine Lambert took on the important job of completing the Three Sisters Formation in Basin’s Backyard Garden June 16.

Last year was the first year we tried out that formation. Basically, once the corn is four inches tall, you plant the beans around the corn, and the squash between the corn stalks. Then, as they grow, the beans crawl up the corn and the squash keeps down the weeds. Learn more: Sowing Three Sisters formation in Basin’s Backyard Garden

Erin and Anine

Erin Huntimer and Anine Lambert finished sowing the Three Sisters Formation.

Water tank help until sprinklers are in action

Since the sprinklers at Basin Electric Headquarters won’t be in working order for another week or so, our facilities staff came to the rescue.

Darrell Schulz, Basin Electric lead environment services/maintenance coordinator, brought out a tank full of water to set beside the garden. Now, we can fill up our jugs right there by the garden.

Watering at Basin's Backyard Garden

Filling up the jugs with our temporary water tank. Thanks Darrell!

Watering at Basin's Backyard Garden

Tracey Krusi and Andrea Blowers take care of the eggplant and celery.

Watering at Basin's Backyard Garden

Fill ‘er up!

Casual for a Cause

Some garden volunteers proudly smiled for the Casual for a Cause group photo taken at the garden. Employees can wear jeans all summer by paying $125. The money goes to the Great Plains Food Bank, and the Backpacks for Kids programs through United Way and Community Action. More than 150 employees raised more than $19,500! Click the photo for the full story.