British Airways employees are really digging their new allotment space as they get down and dirty for National Allotment Week.
The airline has created an allotment at its headquarters near Heathrow Airport and those staff lucky enough to secure themselves a plot are reaping the benefits. Research suggests that community gardening projects can improve health, well-being and social connections.
Paul Jarvis, British Airways’ museum curator, who masterminded the allotment project along with the airline’s well-being team, said: “It’s all too easy for office-based workers to not step foot outside all day. Our work-place allotment not only gives staff the opportunity to grow healthy produce, but they also get exercise, fresh air and a space to meet new people in their spare time.”
The riches on display in the allotments at the moment include a giant marrow, strawberries, tomatoes, geraniums and runner beans. The allotment keepers have a social network on which they share recipes for the fruit and vegetables they produce, offer advice on growth strategies and even organise allotment events such as Harvest Festival.
Cabin crew member, Britney Wilson, visiting the allotment for the first time, said: “The allotment space is such a brilliant idea. I would love to serve British Airways-grown vegetables on my flight – I think it would be great for our customers to taste the fruit of our labour!”
Fiona Lamond, British Airways’ wellbeing consultant, said: “The allotment is a great place to come during lunch-break to get some sunshine and meet new friends. I’m particularly proud of the marrow that I’ve grown. I plan on picking it at our allotment Harvest Festival in early September and asking colleagues across the airline to guess its weight as part of roadshow my team is holding to encourage healthier life-styles.”
Gayna Fitzgerald, British Airways’ brand manager, said: “Our team has an allotment and it’s been great for team-bonding and making new contacts in other areas of the business. We held a sunflower growing competition which was great fun and brought out our competitive streak.”