Research supports the many benefits of gardening and developing community gardens. Workplace gardening is an innovative strategy for employers to offer those benefits while achieving their business mission.
Teambuilding and Leadership Development
- Company-owned gardens provide opportunities for employees to develop leadership capacities outside their regular job duties.
- Gardening enables employees to enrich relationships with their coworkers beyond the context of business and see themselves through the lens of a larger community cause.
- Shared garden spaces in particular decrease isolation through sharing of knowledge, ideas, recipes, and culture, as well as seeds, tools, and garden produce.
Employee Health and Wellness
- Gardening is great physical exercise, which is important to overall health and reduces risks associated with sedentary lifestyles.
- Gardeners tend to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables as part of their regular diet, which is important in disease prevention.
- On average, Americans spend over 90 percent of their time indoors (US Environmental Protection Agency). Gardening is one way to enjoy the many benefits of time outdoors.
- Connecting with nature and caring for living things provides multiple psychological benefits: stress relief, mental clarity, mindfulness, creativity, and motivation.
- In the U.S., produce travels an average of over 1500 miles from its source to consumers, adding to an excessive dependence on fossil fuels for transportation (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture). Locally-grown produce decreases “food miles” and greenhouse gas emissions from transport, processing, refrigeration, and storage.
- Produce harvested and eaten fresh eliminates waste from plastic packaging.
- Growing organically eliminates harmful pesticides and herbicides known to impact human and ecological health.
- Sustainable gardening practices promote healthy soil, water, and air.
- In 2019, 41.2 million Americans (1 in 8), including 12.9 million children, lived in food-insecure households. Corporate-owned gardens can combat hunger by donating fresh produce to food assistance organizations.
- Workplace gardens can provide space for:
- job training: orienting new employees to the company’s grounds, resources, and culture; team-building;
- child care: gardens especially for children or family members at workplaces where childcare is provided;
- meetings, workshops, and celebrations: picnic tables or gathering places as an alternative to conference rooms; flowers for recognizing employees’ accomplishments
- Gardens are a unique and aesthetically pleasing element that create businesses with an inviting physical presence.
- Employee gardeners who are educated about sustainable gardening practices can apply their skills and knowledge at home and in other community gardens.
- Workplace gardens can be a cost effective way to promote many community-oriented activities and programs.
Even a small garden space can yield significant results. Investment in building garden beds will continue to provide benefits for years to come.