In late March, I reported on the Nemours Clinic Community Garden in Jacksonville. Less than a month later, I presented to Working Well, a "community-wide initiative...dedicated to creating a healthy workforce in Leon County." Though the presentation was lively, and folks were joking and laughing, the real excitement began a few days before the presentation. Glenda Atkinson with FBMC Benefits Management contacted me by email to see if I would assist FBMC's Wellness Team in developing a company employ garden.
The day after the Working Well presentation (details available here), I visited with Glenda at FBMC to explore their space, sunlight, and discuss food garden design possibilities.
She asked that I put together something-- including a garden layout-- that she could take to her administration for approval. I drafted a proposal that night.
Then, three to four days later, after securing admin approval, we set up a time for the Wellness Team and I to get the food garden in the ground. We decided that I'd start the process in the AM by constructing and installing the raised bed frames. Second, I'd stage a giant pile of compost adjacent to the beds so gardening employees could do the shoveling.
That same afternoon, at 3pm, Glenda, I and 10-12 other FBMC employees joined together in the conference room.
After a brief conversation about seasonally appropriate vegetable varieties and a review of our garden map, the real work began:
Once we filled the beds with compost mix, I conducted a food garden planting workshop. We discussed (and demonstrated) how deep to plant tomatoes, how far apart to space peppers, how to plant green bean seeds, how many sunflowers to put in each hole, how much to water, etc. Everyone got to get their hands dirty!
We concluded the garden work party with a Q & A session:
What a fun project! What cool folks! There are not too many people that a)will shovel compost in their heels or b)bring a pair of work clothes with them to the office for a garden workshop. Kudos to FBMC on their new company garden!
And the best part: I get to go back every month over the summer to check on the garden's progress. May 18th, I return for a mini-workshop on vertical growing and pest management.