Friday, May 09, 2008
Today at our Mountain View headquarters we're celebrating the one-year anniversary of an important project: our organic garden. Not only does it provide a stunning centerpiece for the central campus; it yields produce and herbs that are used daily in the cafes on campus. Although many Googlers would like to think of themselves as Renaissance men and women, a green thumb didn't exactly come as easily to some as C++ development might. Fortunately, the garden wasn't just an ambitious 20% project but rather, an initiative that we took on with the partnership of The Growing Connection.
The Growing Connection is a grassroots project of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The work of the Growing Connection originates with a humble earth box, a patented growing system that helps growers to cultivate produce with limited space and water. The project really has two parts: teaching people around the world, especially kids, how to cultivate their own food, and giving them a hands-on lesson in nutrition. The latter entails connecting growers so that kids growing corn on rooftops in Harlem can share their experiences with students planting earth boxes in Ghana.
To earmark today's anniversary, we had a little get-together at the Googleplex, complete with cucumber and lemon verbena infused waters, organic snacks and a few words from Robert Patterson, Senior Liaison Officer at FAO. "Like Google, Growing Connections combines growth and information," he observes. "So coming to Google has been a natural fit. We work from kids from all over--Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States. They learn to like each other through food and realize that they're part of an actual solution for hunger and poverty."
Check out today's photo album: