• SEARHC Employee Wellness Team builds vegetable garden at Sitka campus

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The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Employee Wellness Team is building a new community garden for employees on its Sitka campus.

The vegetable garden is located on an unused patch of land on the lower part of SEARHC’s Sitka campus, between the employee fitness center and daycare facilities and across the street from the SEARHC Behavioral Health residential substance abuse treatment centers. The garden is being built with the blessings of the SEARHC Employee Wellness Team, SEARHC Green Team and SEARHC Facilities Management Department. The garden was initiated by SEARHC Grant Writer Kerry MacLane, who also is president of the Sitka Local Foods Network.

SEARHC employees are holding regular lunchtime work parties on Fridays, and employees who work in the garden will be eligible to share in the bounty when the produce is ready to harvest. The garden will be used to grow potatoes, onions, greens, herbs and edible flowers, among other items.

In his note about this Friday’s work party (May 7), MacLane wrote, “This will be a great opportunity to work out and get out any angst that you might be harboring. Come go crazy on the weeds. Aggressive behavior is encouraged. We are going to be digging up weeds, chopping down salmonberries, mixing in sand and compost, and forming two big raised beds.”

SEARHC Employee Wellness Team leaders Lisa Sadleir-Hart and Doug Osborne said a community garden for employees is something a lot of businesses in Sitka can build. A workplace community garden allows employees a chance to get physical activity and gives them the opportunity to add more locally grown vegetables to their diets. Other benefits of an employee garden include reduced stress and improved employee morale. Also, some employees may live in small apartments where they don’t have room for a garden.

To learn more about how you can start a similar employee garden project at your business, contact Kerry MacLane at 966-8839, Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 966-8735 or Doug Osborne at 966-8734.