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Growing Together While Apart
Connecting with Nature and Each Other Through Home Gardening

Baking bread, fostering shelter animals, organizing closets, learning a new language. While these may seem like unrelated activities, they are just a few examples of the many things people are doing to break up their daily routines, help reduce anxiety and cope with increased time at home during the current pandemic.

inside garden
anne williams garden
Members of the Bayer UK team have been participating in their own Tomato Challenge during the stay at home order. The tomato plants shown above belong to Anne Williams, Global Segment Lead in the Vegetable Seeds team. 

It’s no surprise that this moment in time has also inspired a renewed interest in home gardening. Plants and green spaces of all types and sizes offer numerous benefits, which we at Bayer know a thing or two about! We work closely with farmers to help them bring nutritious fruits and vegetables to market, and we also are passionate about fostering healthy, green spaces around the world for all to enjoy. There are many ways we support our customers: from our product supply teams providing seeds for vegetable growers to keep healthy produce on grocery store shelves, to our customer service representatives ensuring our partners in the field have the support they need to manage tough pests and keep green spaces like parks and golf courses weed-free. When not serving our customers, many team members are also taking this opportunity at home to create their own green spaces. In this story, Bayer employees share some photos of the many ways they’re taking up home gardening to continue growing together even while physically apart.

Shin Nakamura, Market Development Group Leader for Bayer's Environmental Science group, grows a maple tree, olive tree and violets among other potted plants. "Our private mini garden has inspired my family during the pandemic. It is a small oasis and place of peace outside our patio doors that connects us with nature, even while living in the city.”
Shin Nakamura, Market Development Group Leader for Bayer's Environmental Science group, grows a maple tree, olive tree and violets among other potted plants. "Our private mini garden has inspired my family during the pandemic. It is a small oasis and place of peace outside our patio doors that connects us with nature, even while living in the city.”
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Digging in and creating green space looks different for everyone, but the benefits are shared, no matter how large or small your growing space is. Gardening can:

  • Enhance wellness — Planting and growing is a hands-on activity that relieves stress and helps both beautify and purify the air inside your home, and plants can boost your mood in many ways! Research even shows that people who live near or have access to green spaces display fewer signs of depression or anxiety. Moreover, fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables — from backyards gardens, local farmers markets or your local grocery store — help fuel bodies and foster healthy lifestyles, which is especially important during this global health crisis.
  • Connect us with nature — During this time apart, many people are longing for ways to create connection and meaning. Gardening at home, whether it’s a balcony flowerbox or backyard raised bed, allows us to connect to nature, to our food, and even our local communities in a tangible way. Tending to plants at home — from flowers to herbs to a full-grown vegetable plot — gives our team and others a great opportunity to connect to each other and the planet.
  • Learn a new skill — Gardening or growing fresh vegetables at home provides a fun, family-friendly, and useful activity that is rewarding and informative for kids and adults alike. There are also ways to learn about sustainability through home gardening. As John Purcell, Head of Vegetables R&D for Bayer talks about during his virtual chat with 11-year-old junior scientist Kellen, he uses a variety of tips and tricks to make his home garden more sustainable. These include using targeted irrigation methods to conserve water, growing his own herbs alongside fresh produce, and planting bee-attractive flowers to attract pollinators that help his plants grow.
Kurt Vandock
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Kurt Vandock, Head of Public Health, for the US Environmental Science team has a thriving backyard garden in Raleigh, North Carolina. "Together as a family, gardening has provided physical activity and mental wellness as we plant, tend, and best of all: enjoy our delicious garden! This spring we are growing lettuce, beets, turnips, radishes, broccoli, carrots, and peas." Both pictures were provided by Kurt.

During the current global crisis, many circumstances are out of our control, which is one reason why the predictable outcomes and rhythms of gardening can be very comforting. Turning to the potential benefits of gardening as a way to harness energy and pass the time during the fight against coronavirus is a great reminder to never stop #growingtogether even as we navigate today’s uncertainty.