Green-fingered staff at an Essex-based leading provider of food, venue and event solutions will be able to nurture their own fresh produce thanks to the launch of a company vegetable patch.

Taking advantage of its rural setting and the opportunity to provide staff with some valuable down time as they return to the office environment, Crown Partnership has introduced a vegetable patch in the garden of its headquarters at The Maltings, Ingatestone.

Staff will decide what to grow and each be given time out from their working day to help develop and maintain the patch.

Raw materials, tools and seeds will be provided by the company and staff have the choice to benefit from the fruits of their labour or donate their produce to the local food bank.

Senior Partner Charles Beer said: “It is widely recognised that time and activity in nature is good for us. Evidence strongly suggests that if we spend time in a green environment, then we reduce stress, improve mood and come away self-reporting improved wellbeing. As many staff will be returning to the office following long periods of working from home or furlough, we want to make that transition as positive as possible.”

Wildflowers have also been sown in an acre of meadow and beehives will be installed to encourage wildlife to blossom in the area.

Charles added: “We are very lucky to be working in a set of offices surrounded by open grounds. As an employer that encourages creativity, collaboration and responsibility the introduction of a vegetable patch seemed the perfect way to provide an enjoyable activity for our staff to be involved in.

“Five years ago, we planted approximately 100 fruit trees, which will now blossom and together with the wildflower meadow, will be a great addition.”

Crown Partnership is the umbrella for a portfolio of events, hospitality and catering providers, committed to environmental sustainability with an emphasis on innovation and an appetite for disruption.

Charles added: “The vegetable patch will inspire all our staff to spend time outdoors, learn new skills, and most importantly, have fun in the process.”

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