Our associates plant and harvest corporate gardens for local food pantries, Support other companies in starting garden programs
Gardening is what we do. It’s who we are and what we believe in. So it may come as no surprise that we have one of the largest corporate garden programs in the country. We encourage our associates to garden because we want them to experience its multitude of health and wellness benefits, such as increased physical activity, more time spent in nature, decreased stress and strengthened social interactions with colleagues. It’s also a way for associates to get more hands-on knowledge about gardening and give back to the local community.
“Gardening is an opportunity for our associates to get their hands into the dirt, learn how our products work and how Mother Nature impacts our efforts,” said Melissa Bond, content manager and garden committee volunteer at ScottsMiracle-Gro. “It’s a four month master class on the life cycle of a vegetable garden, garden pests and community outreach.”
Building on a legacy
We first started encouraging associates to garden on company property at our Marysville, Ohio world headquarters in 1943 in support of the World War II Victory Garden movement. During that time, Americans were encouraged to grow their own food supply, and we offered associates land on which to grow edible gardens. Flash forward 75 years. Today, our corporate gardens have flourished into 77 raised beds with over 3,000 square feet of growing space. More than 250 associates plant and tend the gardens each growing season.
Giving back to our neighbors
Our associates grow everything from potatoes to watermelon and donate the harvest to the local Marysville Food Pantry, which feeds 75 food-insecure families a week. Before we started donating in 2009, the Marysville Food Pantry had no fresh food available to give to families. Since then, we’ve provided nearly 34,000 pounds of freshly harvested fruits and vegetables to those in need in our community.
“People always look forward to fresh vegetables, especially after a long, cold and gray winter,” says Keitha Simpson, secretary and treasurer of the Marysville Food Pantry. “They come in asking when the fresh vegetables are coming in.”
We don’t just encourage associates at our corporate headquarters to garden though. Associates across our business are gardening at regional facilities as well. Just last year, associates at our Mississauga, Canada office began their garden program and have had a great participation response from associates and the community.
And our Shafter, California facility created a competitive (and fun) garden contest among associates to encourage team building and a better understanding of our products.
Lending our expertise to others
Our passion for gardening doesn’t stop at our own front door. We often take what we’ve learned from our corporate garden experience and share it with other central Ohio companies that are hoping to replicate it for their own associates and communities. Our volunteer-led Associate Garden Committee meets with other companies, such as JPMorgan Chase, Abercrombie & Fitch and Donatos, to share best practices and advise on all aspects of starting a corporate garden program––from associate participation to sustainability. It’s the committee’s hope to spread the benefits of gardening to as many other organizations as possible.