Skip to main content

New Company Garden at FBMC

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Why Can I Eat Bread in France, but not the USA?

Updated 10/31/2017 as the National Organic Standards Board meets in Jacksonville, FL. This may well be the most important thing you read this year for your health. (Originally written in 2015 while I was traveling-- and eating bread-- with my wife in France.)

I've got a food riddle for you from Paris, France: Why can I eat bread over here when it makes me sick at home?

I'll share my best guess in a minute, but first, a little personal background.

Since my senior year of high school, I've not been able to eat much bread at all. For five years, I was severely hypoglycemic, and everything I ate had to have more protein than carbohydrates. That meant, in effect, that I spent my years of college beer-less and eating lots of salad with meat on top. I ate tons of vegetables, very little fruit, basically no carbohydrates to speak of, meat, nuts, eggs, and cheese. If I accidentally ate, say, meat loaf that was, unbeknownst to me, made with bread in it, I'd spend the next 2-3 da…

Man in Overalls - The Valley of Food & Ag Startups: Warren Wilson College

If you're interested in tech, pay attention to Silicon Valley. If you're interested in food and agriculture, Swannnoa Valley, more specifically Warren Wilson College, is the place to keep on your radar.
I'm an alum and proud of it, class of 2008. I studied community organizing, wrote a 140 page thesis about social movements as my capstone.
It's a work college, one of seven in the country. Think universal work-study, so in addition to whatever one's academic track, students are also working in the cafeteria, the library, admissions, as carpenters, lock smiths, lab techs, and-- per the agricultural legacy of Warren Wilson-- as row crop, animal, and vegetable farmers, gardeners, and edible landscapers.  Personally, I worked on the electric crew and then on the landscape crew where I led the edible landscape sub-crew in managing a 1-acre edible (Permaculture) landscape around the "Ecodorm."

Per the "triad" of Warren Wilson's educational system,…

Man in Overalls - Growing Great Soil

Good soil will basically grow your groceries for you, but how do you build great soil? 
The answer is that there are two options: a quick & easy way and a DIY, hard(er) way. 

So we're on the same page, I'm continuing my #GrowYourGroceries The Easy Way series by digging into the how-tos of growing great soil. These stories and techniques will likely make the most sense after reading Geeking on Good Soil, my last update. (I outlined where I was headed in The Big Picture.)

As I was saying, the easy way to build a great soil is to fill raised beds with a terrific compost-based soil mix like my Magic Mix to jump start your food garden productivity from year one. From there, seasonally, you simply top-dress each season before planting with another few inches of compost-based soil mix. This is how I manage my own food garden and those of my customers. Why? Because at the root of things, I'm a lazy food gardener, and long ago I decided to embrace it. 😎

But if you're not in th…