Corporate workshops using organic gardening as the subject are quite new in the corporate world. Why should the corporate world, in all of its frenetic daily exertion, be interested in such an earthy, slow moving activity as organic gardening?
My observations below, after running a number of corporate workshops focused on organic gardening over the last 3 years, reveal what I feel are some interesting insights:
- The green/sustainability message – The corporate world has been pushed into taking sustainability more seriously over the last 10-15 years and this is embodied into many facets of corporate reporting, branding and operation. Much of this message has been in relation to how it impacts customers and external stakeholders. The interest in organic gardening, ie: carrying out activities that either develop or support staff interest in organic gardening either in the office or at home is staff focused. It is embedding the sustainability message at a much deeper level into the organisation, more like “walking the talk”
- Recognising that food is a sustainability issue – It is easy to be asleep at the wheel with our food system in cities. There is normally always food in supermarkets and a bargain never far away. But the growing fragility under the surface drives farmers off the land at unprecedented rates resulting heavy reliance food imports, produces food that is loaded with toxic chemicals and greatly increases our carbon footprint. A resilient city must have diverse food sources and our current highly centralised food system is fraying at the seams.
- The public is already engaged in changing the food system – The unprecedented expansion of the grow your own food, local food and organic food movements in Australia and globally, shows clearly that the public is engaged in the solution to our fragile food system. People are taking the solution into their own hands. Sure, most of the food consumed in Australia comes from large farms and imports, but the percentage that is being grown at home is increasing consistently each year.
- Organic food and connecting to the earth affects our well being – Fresh organically grown food contributes to good health and being involved in the activity of growing your own food enables a person to get into nature and connect with the earth and in the process care for the earth. True sustainability starts with caring for ourselves, the earth and the people around us.
- Growing food with others is fun and team building – Corporate’s run many activities that are meant to contribute to team building. Effective teams can do wonders in any organisation. When people co-operate together in the task of growing food either in an office food garden or with workmates to help each other at their home gardens, they actively engage in activities which require: observation, patience, care, cooperation, sharing and a thirst for knowledge to improve. None of those attributes specifically relate to them making a financial profit from their garden, but you can see they are necessary in any organisation or family to navigate this complex world we live in.
Over the last 3 years, we have run corporate workshops for large organisations such as: Arcadis, Boeing, Brisbane Airport Corporation, Independent Schools QLD and Lendlease. Some of the corporate workshops are purely lunch time gigs whilst others relate to supporting the establishment of food gardens in their offices or projects. You can find out more about our corporate workshops here.
Authored by Peter Kearney – www.myfoodgarden.com.au