Volunteer Spotlight: Susan B. Bergen
Susan Bergen, president and COO of Bergen Enterprises, recently received a much-deserved Bert Cooper Communitarian Award at the 50th Anniversary "Golden Garden Gala" held by OKC Beautiful. Susan's dedication to environmental causes aligns beautifully with what the "Bert Cooper commitment" was in making Oklahoma City a better place to live.
In 2003, Bergen began managing a local, 330-acre Oklahoma City organic farm and by 2015 she expanded it into the 20,000-acre Peach Crest Ranch, as it is known today. In addition to products sold in grocery stores and restaurants, Bergen's ranch partnered with the Lynn Institute to plant seven community gardens in northeast Oklahoma City. The goal was to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to food deserts in the Oklahoma City metro area. Susan's determination to provide food and educate the community on the importance of fresh produce and how to grow it has given many the accessibility to fresh foods and a personal legacy that will live on.
Susan's vision came to fruition rather quickly thanks to her tenacity. This "go-getter" brought in wide-load farm equipment and planted turnips, collard greens, radishes, and beets -- all of which were sowed in a day, thanks to her faith in mother nature.
Susan and OKC Beautiful joined forces once her and OKC Beautiful Executive Director Lisa Synar met on a sponsored agriculture mission trip to Israel. After the trip, Susan reached out to Lisa and presented the idea to plant 300 fruit-bearing trees at OKC public schools in three days. Despite the initial shock and doubt, Susan's encouragement led the way in successfuly planting 321 fruit trees at 39 schools. These trees are already bearing apples and pears along with the hope and love each one represents.
Susan's impact is felt throughout Oklahoma City.