Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The business (and benefits) of gardening...

Recently my friend and I were discussing the "joys" of working at a small company. We talked about the positives - getting a half day on the whim of the boss - and the negatives - suffering with slow servers and crappy Internet connections. Malcolm Gladwell points out in his book "The Tipping Point" that companies are best suited to top out at 150 employees. Anything larger becomes unwieldy and impersonal. I agree with this and definitely see more advantages in working for smaller organizations. One of those advantages is the ability to connect with your co-workers.

I'm a person who values relationships with people over those with things, and the Wall Street Journal had a story in the small business section on how vegetable gardens are boosting morale. Someone in the article mentions how the gardens are starting to leech the "water cooler effect" from the indoors, with employees bonding while working in the soil. There is also the added perk of getting fresh veggies.

School gardens do the exact same thing for the students. WHIOTV.com posted a local story about Ruskin PK-8 School in Dayton, Ohio which has started a school-based community garden. The kids raised money to start the garden by reading, and they and their parents and teachers pitch in to plant, weed and harvest the produce. Students there don't just learn about science while getting down and dirty with carrots and radishes, they also learn about the value of eating fresh foods and, since the harvest goes to a local ministry, they learn about the power of giving

This past week, Aug. 23-29, was National Organic Gardening week. And two English companies do not believe city-dwellers should be excluded from the fun. Omlet and Bidgiemire Pig Company have each adjusted traditional farming methods to allow urbanites to keep bees and pigs, respectively. Both hobbies are becoming all the rage since folks have been bitten with the desire to know where their food comes from. 

NYT's Green, Inc. blog highlights Omlet's Beehaus, an up-to-date hive which could produce up to 44 pounds of fresh honey each year and help stem the decline of bee populations. According to the Daily Mail, Bidgiemire constructs, for lack of a better term, pig coops for backyard keeping. The company has seen a 40 percent increase in orders in the last year. People in England apparently want to to return to self-sufficiency and see the benefit in home-raised meat. I am personally not sure I could raise pigs without getting attached. Chickens I would have an easier time with since I only want them for the eggs. I actually do want to have chickens, but I'm fairly certain my apartment complex is not zone for livestock...

(Photo courtesy of The Daily Mail)

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