Workplace edible garden: how, what, why

Have you heard about the Blue Borage ‘workplace edible gardens’ and wondered they are?

Here’s an explanation of how I work with workplaces of all sizes. I particularly love being in an environment that already endorses a healthy lifestyle: healers, advocates of mindfulness, people on a path of improving our relationship to the earth, workplaces dedicated to sustainability, and teams who enjoy fresh air, exercise and good food.

What is a workplace edible garden?

An edible garden contains food, but with the foodscaping approach the emphasis is on growing food in a way that is aesthetically pleasing. Climbing structures will be well built and attractive — even artistic. There’s a seasonal display of crops to pick at any time. Mixed planting of herbs, flowers and vegetables gives a variety of colour and purpose while also attracting bees and other pollinators.

The scale can be varied: a few planter boxes is a good starting point, andraised beds are fabulous for people doing just a little bit of gardening in work clothing. You may not have gumboots and overalls handy at work, right?

Why build a garden in our workplace?

Here are a few reasons to explore installing an edible garden at your workplace:

  • Beautification of your space.
  • Purposeful use of space that is currently neglected or under-utilised.
  • Support the bee population with flowers.
  • Employee wellbeing is improved with closer connection to nature, even if it’s just a small garden.
  • Helps you demonstrate your commitment to sustainable business practices: walk your talk.
  • On-site composting of green waste and food scraps can reduce your waste management expenses.
  • Empower your staff to learn practical skills.
  • Grow flowers for the office or reception area.
  • Improve the soil health of your land: be better kaitiaki.
  • Provide young people (staff and clients) with hope for the future through positive action.
  • Grow food to eat and share.

How do we begin?

There are so many options to choose from that the consultation process is the hardest bit. Once you have a plan, it then becomes a matter of engaging your team and having fun.

Here’s the Blue Borage method:

  1. Decide what you want: book a consultation and we brainstorm together. (Bookings available from mid August: email at katrina@blueborage.co.nz to get a price list)
  2. Commit: once you have decided your budget, we set up a work schedule and get started with planting and making compost. I am available for remote garden coaching, and can visit to run workshops where your team get trained in the skills you need them to learn.
  3. Document: keep track of how things are growing, what people enjoy, and what plants suit your location.
  4. Reflect: periodically review your processes and plan for the following season.

Resources

The Workplace Edible Garden — a series of resources and case studies with ongoing meetings on Zoom to help you keep moving with your ideas.

Ideas for innovative edible gardening solutions using biodynamic methods to make ‘soil with soul’ is what New Zealand needs right now. For tips, advice and online courses go to www.blueborage.co.nz or get in touch by email at katrina@blueborage.co.nz

Compost Coach based in Titirangi, West Auckland, New Zealand. Using biodynamics to help home gardeners make top quality soil. https://www.blueborage.co.nz/