Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Getting Our Garden On at UNC Charlotte

By Lisa Patterson

Chancellor Dubois established the Advisory Committee to the Chancellor for Employee Health and Wellness (ACCEHW) to find out what types of wellness programs UNC Charlotte employees want and need, and to promote existing programs and resources — not a small task when you consider that the campus employs more than 3,000 staff and 1,000 faculty. So for starters, we chose to narrow our focus to smoking cessation, physical fitness and nutrition, and mental health.

When University dietician and committee member Katie Powers passed along a New York Times article about companies that have started organic gardens in the workplace, including the likes of PepsiCo, Kohl’s, Google, and Toyota, the committee began a discussion about how we could offer something similar to our employees.

Well, we’ve come a long way in a year – this spring 40-plus UNC Charlotte employees signed up for 6’ x 6’ garden plots, and planting will begin early next week. With the support of the Chancellor, Facilities Management, ACCEHW and Dining Services, the Community Garden has become a reality. The garden is located near the Facilities Management building – right now it looks like a raised 50’ x 50’ mound of dirt, soon to be bordered by a fence. I’m looking forward to the day when it is lush and green.
Some of the participating employees are avid gardeners, others have never touched a trowel in their lives – but I’m certain we’re all in for a great learning experience.

For more information about employee health and wellness at UNC Charlotte, go to


Lisa Patterson is senior writer in the Office of Public Relations and an ACCEHW committee member (and amateur gardener).

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