Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation Helps Corporate Kitchen Gardens Bloom
Food service pioneer expands Campus Farmers website
to offer resources for growing food at work
Palo Alto, CA (June 3, 2015): Whether it’s offering delicious, nutritious lunches, standing desks, on-site yoga classes, or free fitness trackers, companies are trying hard to keep their employees healthy, happy, and productive while at work these days. And increasingly, corporate food gardens are part of the toolbox. Fresh air and fresh food — what’s not to like?
From window boxes to raised-bed gardens and vertical hydroponic towers, these efforts brighten the surrounding spaces, engage guests in hands-on food education, and yield ingredients grown just yards from the campus café. They are a natural element of any sustainability and wellness program.
But figuring out who should seed and who should weed — or whether to pay someone to do both! — can make these plots thicken, fast. That’s why the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the eponymous food service pioneer, has added resources specifically for corporate employees to its existing array of tools for university-based growers on the Campus Farmers website it first launched in 2012. Tips for locating land and managing a food garden accompany short case studies that illustrate the many forms campus farms can take at corporate headquarters across the country, including at SAP in Palo Alto, CA, and Kohl’s in Menomonee Falls, WI.
Even small gardens can reap big dividends. The hydroponic micro-farm at Plantronics in Santa Cruz, CA, installed and tended by Cityblooms, not only provides fresh greens and other produce to Bon Appétit’s cafés, it was also recently recognized by the environmental nonprofit Acterra with a 2015 Business Environmental Award.
“I’ve been surprised how much you can get from even the smallest plot, like ours. Lemongrass is a great example, as it’s beautiful to look at and just continues to thrive with harvesting,” says Melissa Miller, Executive Chef at SAP in Palo Alto, CA, which has just 12 raised beds. “Also, we have two beehives near the garden, and it was surprising how many bees love the garden too! And our guests enjoyed having the locally made honey.” (That’s Melissa at right with Bill Tomaszewski of Marin Bee Company, collecting their first harvest.)
Long a purchaser of campus-grown produce through its Farm to Fork program, which prioritizes food grown within 150 miles of its kitchens, Bon Appétit has been involved with campus farms for many years. In 2009, through its Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation Fellows program, it developed a downloadable Student Garden Guide to help university students market and sell their food to their food service providers. In 2013 it updated those materials with the launch of Campus Farmers. Through the website, users can join a Facebook group, sign up for webinars hosted by fellow campus farmers, and connect to an online document library that centralizes important resources such as project proposals and business plans.
With the Corporate Campus Farmers resource pages and profiles, Bon Appétit shows that grown-ups can have fun getting their hands dirty, too.
About the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation
The Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation is an operating foundation whose mission is to educate consumers, institutional purchasers, and chefs about how their food choices affect the global environment, local economies, and the quantity and quality of healthy food, now and for future generations, and to inspire them to make change. It is funded by Bon Appétit Management Company (www.bamco.com), the on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, and specialty venues in 33 states, including at Google, eBay, University of Pennsylvania, and the Getty Center. Bon Appétit food is cooked from scratch, including sauces, stocks, and soups. A pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs addressing local purchasing, the overuse of antibiotics, sustainable seafood, the food and climate change connection, humanely raised meat and eggs, and farmworker rights. It has received numerous awards for its work, from organizations including the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the James Beard Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Seafood Choices Alliance, and The Humane Society of the United States.
Media contact: Bonnie Powell, 650.621.0871, [email protected]