In this difficult economy many of us are challenged with increased demands at work with fewer resources in addition to hectic family commitments. Our stress levels increase and we find ourselves exercising less and making poor food choices. Planting a garden can be a wonderful form of recreation.
It’s a great physical activity, helps us relax and connect with nature, and can be an exciting way to learn about organic nutrition! How do we share the environmental, physical, and mental benefits of gardening with our friends and colleagues? A great way to get people involved is to start a Corporate Garden at your business or organization!
So, let’s Get Growing…it’s as easy as 1-2-3!
1. Contact someone in your corporate facilities or benefits department for approval. Simply discuss the benefits employee participants will experience:
• Educational General education for new and experienced gardeners (flowers, vegetables and herbs). Beginner gardeners have a wonderful first gardening experience and have their co-workers as mentors!
• Mental Horticultural Therapeutic Effect including decreased stress and anxiety levels, increased patience, increased creativity, increased self-esteem, improved sense of well-being, improved confidence and focus, and an improved connection with nature and environmental stewardship awareness.
• Physical Ergonomic break from work station, increases calorie expenditure, increases blood flow, and vitamin D production.
Employees will experience even greater benefits when they begin gardening at home! Studies show that physical activity associated with backyard gardening helps prevent heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, adult onset diabetes. Additional benefits include increases muscle mass, flexibility, coordination, and balance.
There are also many nutritional benefits as a result of home gardening. Employees grow fresh vegetables and actually have the interest to eat them, cook more at home and eat less fast food, eat produce exposed to fewer chemicals, and use herbs in recipes resulting in less salt and sugar intake.
| 2. Design the Square Foot Garden and Get Planting! I recommend Mel Bartholomew’s square foot gardening method! It is easy and inexpensive.
The method benefits include:
• Very little water is required-only 20% compared to conventional gardening
• 4×4 garden boxes can accommodate 16 co-workers each-very little space is needed
• Produces five times the harvest compared to conventional gardening in rows
• No weeding, no thinning, no heavy digging
• My personal favorite-no fertilizers or pesticides, it’s all natural
Visit www.squarefootgardening.com for more details
Mel Bartholomew, Square Foot Gardening Creator
Corporate Garden – BEFORE
3. Harvest the Vegetables and Enjoy! Some creative ideas include:
• Your corporate chef can whip up café dishes using the fresh vegetables and herbs
• Create a corporate garden cookbook
• Support the greater good and donate the produce to a program such as Give Back to Grow. More information provided on www.gardenwriters.org