Growing Fresh Produce for the DSM Community Through a Corporate Giving Garden
Summer is made for freshly grilled burgers and barbeque chicken, but sometimes a regular supply of fresh veggies to add to your summer dishes is hard to come by. Whether you’re looking to add a red tomato, slices of zucchini or flavorful onion to your entrée, the Farm Bureau Financial Services Giving Garden raises an average of 2,000 pounds of produce per year to donate to their local food bank so no one has to miss out on the delicious flavors of summer.
Farm Bureau’s ties to agriculture made the organization the perfect place to begin a Giving Garden on its campus. On 1,600 square feet, the Giving Garden raises an average of 2,000 pounds of produce per year and welcomes more than 50 volunteers for various planting, tending and harvesting shifts. The Giving Garden also allows employees an onsite volunteer opportunity that allows them to give back to the community. Joelle Knowler, Benefits Specialist – Human Resources, has been involved since the beginning. Knowler says that volunteers do everything that the garden requires, which has resulted in 15,500 pounds of fresh produce donated to the Food Bank of Iowa over the past seven years.
Robin Fielweber, Lead Applications Developer, has volunteered in the Giving Garden because it's something she enjoys. She grew up on a farm where her family preserved the food grown in their own garden.
Employees enjoy the opportunity to volunteer in the Giving Garden because it can be done during the day — over their lunch break or right after work. It’s an easy way to give back to the Greater Des Moines (DSM) community and serves as the perfect volunteer activity, especially because Farm Bureau gives employees company-provided volunteer time off.
Farm Bureau’s commitment to giving back is who the company is and leadership encourages employees to get involved in a variety of ways, including corporate volunteer days and volunteer time off. For employees like Fielweber, who has a green thumb and a drive to give back, the Giving Garden’s purpose aligns with their passion for putting others first.
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