12

Jul

Employee Gardens: Win-Win


This editorial ran in The Oklahoman on July 3rd.

The support of our corporate sponsors in Oklahoma is great, and because of that support we are able to continue our mission of “Fighting Hunger…Feeding Hope.”

One of our most ardent supporters, Chesapeake Energy, has found yet another way to help nonprofits such as ours, while engaging their employees and impacting the community.  The Chesapeake Employee Garden is an idea we hope will be adopted and replicated by companies of all sizes throughout the state.

Simply put, it’s a garden established by Chesapeake and grown, harvested and enjoyed by members of Chesapeake’s Green Thumb Club. All excess produce will be distributed to organizations such as the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

Specifically, Chesapeake has set up a “sustainable” garden on a full city block between Shartel and Lee Avenues and NW 62nd and 61st streets, featuring raised bed plots reserved for planting and harvesting a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers.

The Green Thumb Club has 56 teams of Chesapeake employees who work individual plots and five common beds for shared crops of cane berries, strawberries, asparagus, cut flowers and herbs.

Throughout the garden, a “sustainable approach,” is employed, encouraging focus on the health and vitality of the soil while providing plants with the optimum condition for growth, and increasing resistance to pests and diseases. All participants have attended a ‘Basics of Sustainable Gardening’ course.

Chesapeake’s Green Thumb Club is comprised of all skill levels of gardeners and allows employees and their families to hone their gardening techniques in a fun and enjoyable community setting. Garden participants will be provided educational classes, resources and guidance throughout the seasons.

We encourage organizations of all sizes to follow Chesapeake’s lead and institute their own employee garden. You don’t need an entire city block or hundreds of employees to have a productive and beautiful garden.  The benefits for your company and employees include: improving the quality of life for garden participants; stimulating social interaction; encouraging self-reliance; producing nutritious food for employee families and for local nonprofit organizations; reducing family food costs; conserving resources; creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education; promoting green initiatives and adding a unique and visually appealing aspect to your company setting.

The employee garden is a win for your company, a win for your employees and a win for the community. As we salute Chesapeake Energy for establishing an employee garden, we look forward to doing the same with others as employee gardens spring up throughout the state.

For more information on starting a community garden in the workplace, visit our Urban Harvest page or contact Bruce Edwards at bedwards@regionalfoodbank.org or 405-604-7108.

Rodney Bivens

Rodney Bivens

Rodney Bivens is the Executive Director of the Regional Food Bank. He founded the organization in 1980.
Read more articles by Rodney


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