At eBay’s corporate headquarters in San Jose, CA, Silicon Valley employees can take a break from their computer screens and get their hands dirty by working at the campus vegetable garden.
The program started in 2013 as an initiative of the local eBay Green Team, a group of eBay employees committed to making their worldwide operations, campuses, and communities more sustainable. The Green Team partnered with StartOrganic, a Bay-area vegetable garden services company, to install the garden’s raised beds and organize educational programming for employees. According to StartOrganic Cofounder Troy Smothermon, the program’s mission is to make “garden education possible for people with 9-5 jobs.”
The garden is divided into six 4-by-8-foot demonstration beds that are maintained by StartOrganic and another handful of raised beds for individual employee or team use. Troy says about 40 employees are involved at a given time and “rent” the raised beds for the season for a small fee. In return, they receive seeds and plant starts, and get to keep all of the produce they grow. In addition, StartOrganic offers monthly hands-on workshops during lunch hours to demonstrate what employees can plant or harvest in the weeks ahead.