We’d like to take a moment to celebrate Vanguard, a national leader in investment management and Food for All partner since 2012. For seven years running, Trellis has worked together with Vanguard to establish a vibrant garden in the center of the campus, a spot often buzzing with pollinators and volunteer gardeners working side by side.
Year after year, hundreds of volunteers have worked to bring in the harvest, and 100% of the produce grown in the “Vangarden” is donated to local food pantries. Vanguard is having a tremendous impact on hunger in our region, improving food security and access to wholesome, nutritious and organic foods.
We recently had a conversation with Johanna Gilbert, the Program Lead for the garden effort at Vanguard, to discuss her role in the garden, the garden’s impact on the surrounding community and on Vanguard’s work environment and culture.
Gilbert enjoys her role because she loves teaching in the garden. There are many volunteers who come into the garden not knowing what to do or how to do it and she really enjoys being the garden guiding light. As someone who started working in the garden wanting to learn more about growing organically both at work and in her home garden, she relates to people who are unfamiliar or are unsure.
“I actually have a ball when there are 30-40 people in the garden doing stuff and looking to me to see what to do and I tell them and show them how to do different things.” Those lessons cross-pollinate outside of work, she added. “I will see them at another time outside of the garden and they tell me how they did what they learned at their garden at home. That really excites me.”
The unique gardens which Trellis designs and supports for our Food for All partners offer a platform for another spectrum of learning, experiences and engagement which can enrich workplace environments at companies like Vanguard while providing a direct benefit to the surrounding community.
According to Gilbert, having the garden on campus at Vanguard has created a less stressful work environment for employees because of the opportunity it creates to get out into the garden for a work break. Beyond that, the numerous volunteer and service opportunities in and around the garden offer so many more rewards like relationship building, empowerment and the practices of gratefulness and mindfulness.
“I’m so proud to work at a company that will do something like this,” Johanna said, “Vanguard has put a lot of money and time into it and has flexibility for people to volunteer.” She added that having an opportunity to volunteer at work has had an incredible impact on her fellow gardeners. “People have stressful jobs, so to have the ability to destress and unwind while giving back to the community makes people happy and helps to create work-life balance. It’s just 20 minutes a week for some of these volunteers, but that can have such an impact for them and for the community.”
And what an impact the Vangardeners have had! In just seven years they have grown and donated over 12,000 pounds of organic produce, volunteered 4,600 hours, and have had a positive impact on more than 50,000 meals for community members in need. In addition to this incredible work, they have worked to organize many garden tours, tasting demos, recipe giveaways, and they have collaborated closely with recipient pantries to make sure the produce is doing the most good for those who receive it.
We are so grateful for our partnership with Vanguard, and for Johanna Gilbert and the hundreds of other Vangardeners who are working together with Trellis to invest in a more sustainable world where there is an abundance of good Food for All.
Thank You Vanguard!