Never  thought of playing a part in “Hamlet” and go back home mumbling the immortal line “to be or not to be” while holding a tomato in your hand? Well, it could happen sooner or later at “Teatro Franco Parenti”.

Why? Have all actors gone vegetarian, are they supporting organic food?  It could be but this is not the real reason,  “Teatro Franco Parenti” has joined the initiative of “Ortid’azienda”.   “Ortid’azienda” ONLUS promotes the cultivation of green spaces around the companies by employees and workers.  Yes you are reading the truth…. workers and employees from every level are welcome to join the initiative and help to seed, care and grow their own vegetables. CEO, CFO elbow to elbow with the company receptionist they seldom see while at office, senior managers with young clerks who have just started their career they all work to grow their vegetables.  The historical theatre of Milano is not the only one to experience this new approach to a more “eco” way of working.

My company grows potatoes and gets the smartest guys

These few examples of “company green gardens” may look like “hippy” experiments and shine like fragile creatures in the grey and all concrete  panorama of the Italian business capital but what if I were to inform you that both Google and Yahoo! have their own green gardens?  Now I am sure I have your full attention and you want to know more let’s take a closer look.  We shall start from the basic assumption that American companies fight a daily fierce battle to attract the best talents. Their idea for being successful is to have the right idea and the right people to implement a plan.


Carrots and business acumen: the recipe for a successful business

How do carrots attract talents and make sure they will stay with your company and work profitably for you? Make your employees happy… and working in a green garden, spend some time dirtying your hands and see fruits and vegetables grow seems to have a great part in it.  Still skeptical… you are tough but I have more arrows to shoot.
A survey dated 2007 (MonsterTRACK 2007 survey) showed that companies working actively on social activities attract and retain good employees.

Even more interesting and surprising, companies focusing on strong environmental strategies are considered as

·         ideal working places from graduates (data from MonsterTRACK 2007)

·         promoting more efficiently their values and mission

·         gain a competitive advantage creating links between society, environment, marketing and human resources

Feeling like you giving green philosophy a chance? I see, the old granpa” garden may turn out to be more than just the snob exercise of some eco fan.


Little farmers grow up: kindergarten and school orchards

Is your kid covered with mud when getting back from the kindergarten?  If s/he shots you a smile to you and lift puffy hands holding a bunch of spinach leaves, there is just one answer to your fears…. the school green garden and the spinach season. And if you hoped for some perfumed roses, well direct your glance to the kid’s father or more efficiently reach the closest flower kiosk and pick up your favorite flowers…to go with the spinach leaves.
Many schools of different levels have introduced some kind of green activity with multiple goals:

·         teach kids some basic notions on Nature and agriculture (I got shocked when a survey showed many kids raised in urban areas though strawberries grew under the    ground surface…it is really something a “mature girl” who used to escape from her granny’s control to pick the first wild berries along the river sides cannot imagine)

·         help them realize “there is a time for seeding and a time for the harvest” and strawberries in winter are probably not locally grown

·         make them familiar with the concepts of collaboration, consistency and shared work as it is necessary in the management of a public area: in a society where the relevancy to individual values is undeniable, we have almost forgotten “policy” comes from the idea of “managing every aspect of the public life so as to satisfy all citizens’ needs” and this means have some understanding of the art of collaboration and compromise at its highest level.

The approaching deadline of EXPO 2015 is urging more and more companies and schools to contact social players (WWF, Orti d’Azienda, etc) to start their green project.


The theme of the Italian exposition is “Feed the planet” and the logo is a funny veggy creatures who revamped the name of the Arcimboldo , a Milanese painter of the 15th century who assembled different vegetables, flowers and other objects to create portraits of the most powerful lords and ladies of his time.

Would you have ever imagined the multiple results of some pepperoni and some onions in a garden?

feeding the planet,

cleaning the air,

teaching the basic of collaboration in working places

attracting the smartest talents

providing companies with economic advantages

…and even inspiring painters

Can we ask for more?


You might also like:

How a Metropolis can become “Green”: GrownNYC and the urban gardens diffusion

Incredible Edible Cities. Eating local vegetables has never been that easy…

How Nature can change your Life

Author: Cristiana Pedrali

"Loving your job is the closest you can get to happiness on earth” (Rita Levi Montalcini) and “when real people fall down in real life they get back on their feet and carry on walking” (Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City): these are my two mantras. I’m a bit like this: I go through being serious to playful to help me manage a thousand different interests and commitments, keeping a smile through it all. I work in the tourism industry and on the web and every so often I look for some breathing space through reading and travel!
More posts by Cristiana Pedrali →

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