Why Are Huge Corporations Gardening?
While browsing the New York Times, I came across something interesting – corporate gardens! The word “gardening” often evokes images of eco-friendly, healthy, creative, people – definitely not multi-million or billion dollar companies that too-often crush local economy and healthier alternatives in favor of cost-cutting options. Although it sometimes seems as if the entire world is orchestrated by these giant corporations, the minority has been heard: organic food and gardening, environmentally-friendly materials and buying local are IN; while giant discount chain stores and gas-guzzling, earth-polluting vehicles are OUT. Finally, healthy food and environmentally-friendly ways of growing/purchasing food are trendy!
I was shocked to learn that PepsiCo had its own organic garden right outside the corporate headquarters. I was nothing if not skeptical. How is this green-thumb facade making them more money, I wondered. Well, it turns out that companies are allowing employee members not only to get their inner-farmer on, but are also offering employees free or a minimal flat rate ($10 a year) access to all the greens they can carry home.
Interestingly enough, it took a major economic downturn to get companies focused in the right direction. The corporate gardening initiative began shortly after companies realized they couldn’t afford raises and bonuses or even the free tickets to the ball game that used to be a give-in. Instead, companies dug up a plot of land, planted some seeds and offered crops to their employees. While these gardens maybe do not seem desirable when acting as a replacement for a raise or other company perk, they give back in a huge way. Imagine the fruits, vegetables and spices you would walk away with if your company said you have the freedom to pick and choose whatever produce you can carry home. It would add up to a lot of money not spent at your local grocery store.
Not only do these gardens save money, but they promote a healthier lifestyle that is accessible. Often, people opt for regular produce because of the hefty price increase for buying organic; however, now organic produce is at the fingertips of many who might not normally purchase it. Corporate gardens are an extremely important statement to the public. They’re saying, “It’s possible to live in a capitalist economy and take care of our selves and our planet at the same time.”
It probably doesn’t shock you to learn that Google also has a garden. They use a product called EarthBox, which allows people to garden without much space and water. They are essentially gardens in a container (see picture up top).
While corporate gardens are beginning to take off, they also risk being quickly dropped. Fortunately, Google has a partnership with The Growing Connection, but many companies rely on employee volunteers. Some corporations that started a garden last year had a difficult time finding volunteers to plant this year Hopefully, corporations can find innovative ways to keep people participating and eating the healthier – free – options.
If your looking for healthier recipes to go along with your fresh produce, try searching by the vegetable of fruit you want the dish to feature!
Do you work at a company with a corporate garden? If so, how does it work? Do employees have free unlimited access to the food? Do they help plant and grow the produce? If your company doesn’t have a garden, you might consider proposing the idea, especially if you work at a place with a cafeteria, where growing fruits and veggies could save money.
Tags: corporate gardening, corporate gardens, corporations, Earthbox, eco-friendly, environment, environmentally friendly, garden, gardening, Google, Google garden, new york times, ogranic gardening, organic, organic gardens, Pepsi garden, PepsiCo garden