It’s a tradition that has its roots in the early 1970s and has since taken on an even bigger life in recent years.
Associates at the ScottsMiracle-Gro headquarters in Marysville, Ohio, gather each year to plant row upon row of raised-bed gardens on company grounds. Then, from spring through fall, they volunteer to nurture the gardens, watering, weeding and harvesting them weekly with an eye toward serving the greater good. The produce is delivered to the Marysville Food Pantry to help feed about 75 families and more than 1,200 people weekly.
“Our company has a rich history of giving back to the community and promoting healthy lifestyles among our associates through LiveTotal Health, which includes everything from benefits to wellness initiatives,” said Melissa Bond, who volunteers to help oversee the management of the ScottsMiracle-Gro Give Back to Gro Gardens. “The gardens are an outgrowth of this commitment to our communities and capture the spirit of active lifestyles and well-being.”
There are 77 raised beds within more than 3,000 square feet of growing space. At least one ton of food is harvested annually and, in the past 10 years alone, 33,000 pounds has been given away.
Today, associate involvement in the gardens remains steady, with more than 350 participating. Tending to the gardens has become an activity that goes beyond the physical aspect of gardening.
“It’s not just about the planting and the harvest. It’s about the process, too,” said Lindsay LaSala, a member of the volunteer board that oversees the gardens. “Working with the earth is therapeutic. It serves as a great stress reliever and gives you a tremendous sense of accomplishment to know that you are creating something that has far-reaching impact.”
Just ask Katy Glenn, who works in Environmental, Health and Safety at ScottsMiracle-Gro.
“Our team loves participating in the gardens. It has always been a team activity, week after week, that gives us a chance to interact outside of the office. Being able to see all of the food we collect going to people who need it is a great feeling for us. We are glad we can be a part of it.”
Keitha Simpson, secretary and treasurer of the Marysville Food Pantry, said the vegetables are well received at the pantry, where it can be a challenge to find fresh food in general, let alone each week.
“We find that basic vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onion, zucchini go over really well,” she said. “People always look forward to fresh vegetables, especially after a long, cold and gray winter. They come in asking when the fresh vegetables are coming in.”