Employee Vegetable Garden
Planning Department Staff Vegetable Garden
In spring 2010, staff at the Planning Department planted a vegetable garden by the entrance to its headquarters building in Silver Spring.
In April, staff planted a variety of vegetables and herbs, from tomatoes and peppers to Swiss chard and sweet potatoes. They also planted flowers intended to attract beneficial insects, which prey on insect pests and offer a safe, natural alternative to pesticides.
Staff tending the garden work on their own time and purchased plants and materials out of personal funds. Many of the plants and organic fertilizers were donated by American Plant Food.
The garden grew out of an initiative to green Park and Planning headquarters. Among other options, environmental planning staff asked the Planning Board for the go-ahead to create an edible garden by the public entrance.
In the 450-square-feet raised bed, staff, with help from the Department of Parks, tilled and amended the soil in an existing flower bed in Royce Hanson Park.
The staff vegetable garden is intended to demonstrate how edible plants can grow well in urban settings. Other goals include:
- Contributing to employee health and well being
- Educating staff and the public on organic urban gardening and food security
- Providing an opportunity for staff who lack their own land and want to learn how to garden
- Connecting people to the land and their food source
- Promoting good health through quality produce and healthy eating
- Providing nectar, pollen, and habitat for bees, birds, and beneficial insects
- Reducing the carbon footprint of transporting food long distances
Planning staffers describe the intent behind the employee vegetable garden.