When people envision Merit Medical Headquarters, an image of organized buildings spanning across several acres of pristine campus commonly comes to mind. But what many don’t know about the Salt Lake City-based office is that just a stone’s throw away—outside the hustle and bustle of the medical device manufacturing world—is the corporate garden, a green sanctuary where employee morale and environmental sustainability flourish alongside homegrown produce.

According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, office or corporate gardens are a rising trend seen among small businesses and even Fortune 500 companies.1 By providing this wellness perk, businesses are offering employees the opportunity to create more balance in their workday, and reap the health benefits of gardening. Research has shown that allotment gardening—the type of community gardening seen at Merit where plots of land are assigned to individuals—improves self-esteem, mood, fatigue, and general health in comparison to those who don’t garden and may even be considered a type of preventative health measure.2

Merit’s own corporate garden—a one-acre parcel of land comprising 82 garden boxes, a small orchard of various fruit trees, and a state-of-the-art greenhouse—is just part of the extensive Garden Program started by Merit Founder and CEO, Fred Lampropoulos, in 2016.

“It’s not just business,” says Lampropoulos, referring to his company. “It’s about the people.” He goes on to explain how growing a business is very much like growing a garden, two practices he refers to as “humbling.”

The Garden Program not only offers employees the obvious—access to fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs—but it also provides monthly informational newsletters and workshops that cover a range of topics, such as gardening how-tos, cooking basics, and food preservation techniques. It provides a place for employees to slow down and enjoy a bit nature during their workday, eat lunch, and even attend after-hour corporate events like this month’s Harvest Party—a gathering where employees are invited to tour the garden, enjoy refreshments, and purchase Merit-grown pumpkins for their seasonal festivities.

“The intention of the program is to be a benefit to the employees, to boost employee morale, to have access to fresh and free produce, and to get people outside and enjoying their time at work a little bit more, ” says Laura Flower, Merit Garden Project Coordinator.

Just by taking a stroll along the rustic, dirt paths of the garden, you can easily understand why it’s so beloved. On any given day, it’s not uncommon to find a handful of employees harvesting ruby-red tomatoes, cutting fall-blooming asters, or tending to holiday poinsettias—all while chatting about their day. The Merit garden is a place where employees care for their plants, but it has also become a way they care for each other. “We hold annual plant sales for employees,” Flower says. “Proceeds from these sales fund our Candy Cane Program, which raises money to help employees who may need a little extra help buying holiday gifts.”

This community mindset combined with the continuous drive to improve the lives of others can be seen through Merit’s many sustainable gardening practices. Everything grown in the corporate garden is by organic standards. No commercial pesticides are used, and only OMRI- listed products are permitted.

What’s more, the garden is water-efficient, a drastic change from the once lawn-covered land it was built upon. Run entirely on drip irrigation, the garden helps to drastically lower water usage. Swapping out grass for garden has also provided room to cultivate plants that attract and help sustain valuable pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies. Stand in just the right spot, and you might get a whiff of bubblegum—a telltale sign that Agastache cana is growing nearby, a hot-pink flower cultivated in the garden that nourishes hummingbirds.

Having a corporate garden also helps to lower Merit’s carbon footprint. “This is the first year we’re able to work with the kitchens here on campus, providing produce for the Merit cafeterias,” Flower explains. “This way, we save on the miles it would take to transport produce to our facility.”

The Garden Program is just one of the ways Merit has set itself apart as a company that cares for its people and the environment. By building a company that puts people first, Merit has fostered a workplace that encourages community, work-life balance, and a green-thumb camaraderie that’s priceless.

Do you want to learn more about what it’s like to work at Merit Medical? Visit merit.com/careers and explore available positions.

REFERENCES

1.      Wolfe, C. (2016, Aug 25). The office garden: Fruits, vegetables, and happier employees. Retrieved from https://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/others/office-garden-happier-employees/

2.      Wood, C. J., Pretty, J., & Griffin, M. (2016). A case-control study of the health and well-being benefits of allotment gardening. J Public Health (Oxf), Sep;38(3):e366-e344.