In episode 5 of GROW COOK EAT we visited the amazing garden, dome and canteen at Voxpro in Cork. Voxpro is a tech company, and a very successful one, not a social enterprise or a charity. They are proof that it’s in every company’s best interests to look after the health of their workforce, and that growing is good for the bottom line. Food growing in particular has numerous benefits that go beyond the obvious physical perks of fresh food and fresh air. Growing food is great for your wellbeing, your peace of mind and your self-esteem. Growing as part of your work day can increase satisfaction in work, reduce sickness, absenteeism and stress. On average Irish people spend a third of their lives at work, if the workplace environment doesn’t support health and wellbeing, it’s going to influence a huge chunk of your life.
Voxpro have created an environment and opportunity for their whole workforce to take part in food growing while at work. They have a beautiful geo-dome that offers an amazing space for meetings as well as a practical growing space for all kinds of food. The garden also features an outdoor kitchen, a disco ball pizza oven, as well as veggie beds and there’s a juice bar in the canteen for employees to grab a healthy snack on the go. Full-time horticulturalist with Voxpro, Kitty Scully, joined the company in 2017 making history as the first full-time grower hired by a company whose business is not growing!
This may be workplace growing taking to the nth degree, but it’s a model that many workplaces could emulate in their own way. The impact of hours of screen-time, fluorescent lighting, recycled air and sedentary jobs can, and must, be mitigated somehow. Paying lip service to employee wellbeing with a discounted gym membership or annual 5K charity walk is not going to tackle the issue of an increasingly sickening workforce. Management across every sector should be recognising and addressing their contribution burnout, stress, anxiety, obesity and ill-health amongst the Irish workforce and we think Voxpro are the flag bearers in this regard.
GIY has worked with companies for ten year to encourage food-growing at work and we have seen the genuine, enduring, positive impact it has on everything from productivity to retention. Find out more about GIY’s employee wellbeing programmes here.