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In pictures: The fruits of 'out of the office' work

Vegetable gardens on workplace properties are growth opportunities - building teams , growing local food, sharing with communities and turning uncultivated land into thriving plots

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Company-sponsored gardens are catching on with workers volunteering their time to garden and to share the harvest with food banks. Here, Farm Mutual Reinusrance Plan Inc. employees, members of the company’s green team, inspect one of four vegetable plots in Cambridge Ont.

jennifer lewington The Globe and Mail

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Chris Serran, a medical rehab specialist with Farm Mutual, hunts for a cucumber in the foliage of a three-metre by three-metre plot. With 13 acres to work with, the firm wanted to create sustainable grounds for their new headquarters, built in 2011. But they didn’t want to go with only manicured lawn.

jennifer lewington The Globe and Mail

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Taking inspiration from a nearby country hotel, employees volunteered about a half hour each week to care for their vegetable patch. Marie Byrne, left, Megan Rood, Chris Serran, Deb Field and Dareen Cardiff celebrate the first harvest. By mid-September, they had donated 90 kilograms of the bounty to their local food bank.

jennifer lewington The Globe and Mail

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In mid-town Toronto, CS&P Architects decided this spring they would try growing food on their barren second-storey roofstop.

CS&P Architects

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They added five big planter boxes and six circular pots for herbs and vegetables.

CS&P Architects

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The mini-garden transformed the space and led to the creation of a Thursday ‘salad club’ where produce from the garden was used, in part, for the salads.

CS&P Architects

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Six workers took turns watering and weeding the containers – and fending off squirrels who raided the strawberries. Even without ideal conditions, the CS&P experiment shows that staff were able to enjoy good food outdoors – and a sense of accomplishment.

CS&P Architects

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At the ‘giving garden’ in Cambridge, Ont., workers at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada plant display their all-natural vegetable harvest. Paul Plato, left, Pam Hawkins and David Romero volunteered their time on company property. The harvest came to 270 kilograms last year and has been donated to two local women’s shelters.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada

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