Planning a Workplace Garden
Interest & Commitment
- Seek the support of leadership and management. Their committed support is critical for a workplace garden program to move forward.
- With support from management, survey employees about their interests and skills.
- Employee input will help in designing a garden that fits the workplace. Consider size, location, traffic flow, style, existing structures and materials, etc.
- Assess educational opportunities that will help ensure gardeners’ success and satisfaction with the project.
- Careful attention to site selection and garden infrastructure (water, storage, security) early in the planning process will ensure a garden that best suits your site and gardeners’ goals.
- Communication and outreach should include signs or labels for garden beds, bulletin boards, donation logs, and other tools to focus and inform. These belong in the garden and inside the workplace.
- Considerations for accessibility, safety, maintenance, and day-to-day use of the garden beds and pathways include: mowing, composting, delivery of materials, fencing, hoses, shade, etc.
- Water systems should consider adequate hose length and diameter, water pressure, above vs. below ground, sprinklers or watering cans.
- Prevent crop damage with fencing, netting, or below-bed barriers to discourage neighboring wildlife.
- Storage structures may include tool shed, compost bins, and food storage containers for donations.
- Relaxation and wellness features will encourage full use of the garden. These may include seating or gathering areas, shade structures or trees, pathways, and environmentally conscious landscaping.
The following resources, personnel, and materials are needed to get started:
- Land that is accessible and appropriate for growing food; or, in places where land is not accessible, space for containers such as raised beds, barrells, or pots (Consulting a local planner or official can help to know the right questions to ask.)
- Budget for materials (may include donations or discounts from local businesses)
- Leadership and staff support
- Facilities support
- Project management skills
- Educational resources (may include partner agencies/institutions)
- Last but not least, employees and volunteer gardeners!
With the above considerations, developing workplace gardens can begin:
- Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals.
- Prepare garden sites or space for containers.
- Provide ongoing educational support, including workshops and partner resources.
- Develop systems for communications, garden maintenance and community donations.
- Collaborate with hunger relief agencies to determine donation needs and processes.
- Regularly communicate and promote workplace gardening activities and achievements within the organization and broader community.
- Have and use an evaluation plan (surveys and other measures).
- Monitor and document garden management including challenges and successes and how they come about. Share these with newcomers, leadership and the broader business community.
For more resources for planning your workplace garden, see the Community Garden Connections’ Resource Packet on Garden Planning.