Michelle Obama, who introduced in 2009 the vegetable garden at the White House, should take the credit for the launching of trend based on quality food locally grown; but a long time before this do-it-yourself cultivation was in fashion, a few pioneers of the industrial age already grew vegetable in their garden, like Sedus that has been giving its employees organic food cultivated inside the company since 1966.
The corporate garden is a steadily growing phenomenon. After several trials in US(Google, Yahoo, Aveda, Toyota, Timberland, etc.) in Italy, too, many companies have created green areas their employees can cultivate together during their breaks (Diesel, Bottega Veneta, Kbs Italia, Unicredit, etc). A relaxing work, that helps to wellbeing and socialization, thus to harmony in workteams.
The vegetable garden, a trend perfectly keeping to the theme of Expo2015 Feeding the Planet, has also inspired Quantomais, 1500 plants of maize and herbs downtown Milan, between the two Expogate Pavillions, the H-Orto by H-farm and Grow the Planet, the start-up that makes the old art of farming social.
The WWF has also started the project “Coltiviamo la natura in azienda” with the technical partnership of Orti d’Azienda, a non-profit association born in 2012 .
The goal of the project is “to foster corporate gardens linked to an awareness campaign on the themes of sustainability. By sharing a pleasant time with colleagues and coworkers”.
Sedus: an exemplar case history.
In the fifties – before words like Corporate Garden, Health Management and Eco-sustainability were coined– in Waldshut (Germany) a cultural revolution took shape that has greatly marked the corporate philosophy of Sedus.
Dorothea Scheidl-Nennemann, PR manager Sedus and editor of Place 2.5 corporate magazine, explains “ In the 1950s Christof and Emma Stoll, the third generation owners of the business, inspired by anthroposophic principles, decided to provide workers with a nutritious meal including vegetables from the company’s garden. Around 1966 the creation of a professional kitchen has developed over the following years into today’s impressive facility which includes a team of trained chefs and Sedus’s own branded restaurant Oasis serving world class food.
Wherever it is served, the kitchen uses produce from the firm’s own six hectare farm and gardens which are managed according to strict organic principles.The home-grown produce includes vegetables and salads, all grown without artificial fertilisers and pesticides. About 200 free range chickens provide eggs and some meat and a few pigs are also kept, mainly to provide a sustainable way of disposing of waste plants and vegetables.
Each day, head chef Ulrich Rotzinger and his team prepare meals for some 200 people in the main canteen; customers and visitors are entertained each day in the Oasis restaurant.
As the Stolls knew very well, dietary habits makes a significant impact on health and if the garden is cultivated by the employees, wellbeing increases for conviviality puts in a good mood.
1, Corporate garden Sedus in Germany.
2, Corporate garden Unicredit in Milan.
3, Orti d’Azienda Onlus.