Coquitlam's Associated Labels goes green with employee garden
Shaun Ashworth of Associated Labels shows off some of the produce grown by employees in his company's pesticide-free garden.
Workers at Coquitlam's Associated Labels don't need to travel far for food on days when they forget to bring a lunch to work.
That's because the company started a pesticide-free garden last year on its property near United Boulevard and has been growing everything from herbs to strawberries and tomatoes.
Associated Labels employs more than 150 people and has been around for close to 25 years. It produces labels found on many products, from pharmaceuticals containers to milk jugs. Its employees get the opportunity to play in the dirt during their lunch hours and coffee breaks, and the company is planning on expanding the garden this year to add additional plots. According to Cory Ashworth, one of the directors of the family-run printing business, each employee will get his or her own plot on which to grow fruit and vegetables.
"The printing industry isn't known for being all that environmentally aware," he told The Tri-City News. "We took a look at our environmental impact and we definitely wanted to find ways of reducing that."
His brother, Jay Ashworth, launched the garden initiative last year as part of an environmental overhaul the company was conducting. They found a decent parcel of dirt on their property and got to work.
Fast-forward to today and the garden is just finishing its most productive season.
One of the employees harvests the produce, which is offered in the break room, where workers can eat the fruits and vegetables or take them home.
The garden has been so successful that it has earned the company recognition from the David Suzuki foundation.
Of the 500 entries in the third annual David Suzuki Digs My Garden contest, the Associated Labels dirt patch received top pesticide-free garden and was the winner of the Starting Over category. The company was chosen for the award by the more than 3,000 voters who participated in the contest.
"Everyone who participated in the contest, including the entrants and those who voted online, has shown that toxic pesticides simply aren't necessary for a gorgeous green yard," David Suzuki said in a media release. "Let's hope that our governments get the message and ban the use and sale of lawn and garden pesticides."
We are also waiting for the dvd for the shaw TV 3 minute segment on our company garden as well. =)
Their is Gold in them hills!!!
Well maybe not gold but Potatoes! =)
What a great harvest, we had four plants and the pay off was huge! At least what I think is huge... We must have gotten 10-15lbs of potatoes, and to me that is a lot.
And to top it off there were tons of hot peppers!
I tried one not knowing which type it was, and it was mouth burning! It was one of the plants that had 30,000cc of spice. I had that feeling of desperation, and hoped someone around the plant had a glass of cold milk waiting for me somewhere!
I wasn't 100% sure if I harvested the potatoes too early but the plant itself was looking kind of dreary. So I decided to start digging, and it is exciting to pull those guys out of the ground, its truly like a treasure hunt! So once again we put the harvest out for employees to take home, and everything was gone withing a few hours. People were pleasently suprised at the little garden that could!
Can't wait to cook up some of those tatters tonight! Giving P.E.I. a run for their money!
I dont want to kill them, something organic and safe that will make them go away!
I planted fennel and this flower that was supposed to attract lady bugs, but it didnt work!
They are all over the mint plant!
This aphids are not mint, they are squares!
P.S. This isn't my picture =)
Thanks Panos for all the contacts you gave us!
I have emailed all the local media and got a response from Shaw TV.
They will be filming a 3 minute segment on our company and our 100% pesticide free and organic vegetable garden =) Wahoo!
I'm not sure when this blog ends, however I will be on holidays and wont be back till the first week in September.
Associated Labels Teams up with David Suzuki
Vancouver Printer raises the bar in sustainability
The days of “your own parking spot” are over! Associated Labels is introducing “your own gardening spot” at work. What a great way to take your lunch breaks, or even to wind down after a tough day, nothing beats a few minutes in the garden...
It’s truly amazing what a few weeks can do to the greenery around here. I would have never thought the success we have had to be possible! All the hard work is finally paying off, and we are able to actually see the fruits of our labour! Plants have exploded from little seedlings, to towering giants that are overtaking the entire parking lot!
Read on and see some of the before and after pictures as well as the the second harvest that was given out.
It all started on a regular rainy morning in October, It had been a bit windy the night before, and when people started to arrive at work they noticed there was a tree that had fallen over. With closer examination the tree had not fallen over at all! but had been chewed to death by a beaver! We cleaned up the tree in the parking lot and then, two days later it happened...
Well we have come a long way at Associated Labels here in Coquitlam. Year after year we have planted your typical office flowers, and this time around, we broke that cycle.
I took on the new role of Environmental & Sustainability Manager here at our company in September 2008 with open arms; I was flooded by the opportunities the company had to offer. One of the classic ideas was to have a green roof; this proved to be quite expensive, and considering the economic situation, wasn't realistic. However with one disappointment brought along another opportunity...
Hmm what about having a garden in front of our building?... YES!!! YES!!! YES!!!
Recent posts by Jay
- Calvin wrote, "Awesome news Jay & company! Nice to see Associated Labels getting this recognition, and special congrats to Jay for his..." on Tri-City News Article