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Tri-City News Article

Coquitlam's Associated Labels goes green with employee garden

te0826AssociatedLabelsgarden1c.jpg 
Shaun Ashworth of Associated Labels shows off some of the produce grown by employees in his company's pesticide-free garden.
COLLEN FLANAGAN
 
 
 
Published: September 02, 2009 9:00 AM

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."

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

 

We are also waiting for the dvd for the shaw TV 3 minute segment on our company garden as well. =)

 

 

Comments (1)

Awesome news Jay & company! Nice to see Associated Labels getting this recognition, and special congrats to Jay for his hard work in making it all happen!

Calvin | September 18, 2009 at 11:47 AM
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