The Adobe campus in San Jose, CA, is home to 2,310 square feet of gardens. The main growing space is on the roof outside the 6th floor of the East Tower, which connects many of the buildings on Adobe’s campus. It has grown into a central unifying space where Adobe employees can enjoy lunch surrounded by some of the plants that feed them. There is a secondary garden outside a different building.
The gardens were started in 2016 as a passion project of the Bon Appétit Management Company team at Adobe — and have continued on as a partnership between the Bon Appétit chefs on campus and Farmscape, a California-based urban farming company. The gardens were designed with a low-flow drip irrigation system to conserve water and utilize only organic inputs. Onsite chefs utilize the garden as a source of ingredients that they are both excited to feature and would struggle to find locally; they pass that information onto the Farmscape team, who handles the daily maintenance of the garden.
Their partnership yields a beautiful and diverse harvest. In its second year, the team grew seven varieties of heirloom tomatoes, eight varieties of peppers (including Indian Jwala, Peruvian Recoto, and Aleppo), and a lot more, from cinnamon basil to Jerusalem artichokes.. The gardens also provided fresh herbs including thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, sage, garlic chives, savory, and sorrel. During the summer, the garden yields an average of 650 pounds a month.
Approximately one-fifth of the produce is donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank, and the rest is used by chefs at Adobe – San Jose’s onsite cafés. But the benefit to employees doesn’t end there; the gardens have developed into a space for community gathering and connection. Planned events aim to enhance the workday for Adobe employees by finding creative ways to connect employees to the plants around them; for example, the company recently hosted a yoga and meditation class, led by a local farmer who helped to design the garden. Using herbs and flowers from the garden, the class featured aromatherapy and was followed by a reception with light bites made from produce grown onsite.