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HOME GROWN – Fresh veggies on the job

Suzanne Griffith

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THERE’S NOTHING like a fresh, homegrown salad for lunch, but no one enjoys a soggy salad, that’s for sure.
If I manage to pack my lunch, a small feat in itself, and a salad is on the menu, I typically spend all sorts of time making certain that each and every component of the salad is carefully separated from the other until the very moment that I am about to sit down and eat.
With our modern grab-and-go lifestyles it can be hard to eat healthfully; while little do we recognise that the more demanding our days the more critical healthful eating becomes.
What if I told you that there is a growing movement in corporate America to establish organic vegetable gardens for the use and benefit of their employees? That’s right, no more soggy salads!
At American companies such as Google, Aveda, PepsiCo, Kohls, Intel, BestBuy, and Target, a fresh organic salad with all of the trimmings is just steps away from the desks of their employees.
Corporate organic gardens started appearing in the last two to three years; the advent of most corresponding the global economic recession.
These corporations indicated that the gardens serve a variety of purposes; in tough economic times productive gardens can act to decrease employee’s grocery store bills while at the same time serving as a tangible and desirable employee benefit.
Many companies that have started such gardens indicate that they are not in a position to provide raises, however with a nominal investment they have been able to create a benefit.
These employer’s are particularly cognizant of the need to foster health and wellness programmes as a preventative measure in the workplace leading to the overall improved well-being of staff.
Many also indicated that a corporate garden can serve to boost employee morale and encourage a team approach not only within the confines of the garden but the office environment as well.
In many cases employees involved in these gardens reported that they went out of their way to spend time in the garden, before work, during lunch, and even on the weekends they were committed.
For example, in May of 2009 PepsiCo launched its organic vegetable garden at its World Headquarters in Purchase, New York.
The garden is cooperatively run by 225 employees and is comprised of 58 plots, 25 vegetable varieties, and 30 different herbs. Any excess production not consumed by the employees is donated to a local food bank, certainly a win-win accomplishment to be proud of.