SMITHFIELD – The groundbreaking at Fidelity Investments for a new, organic community garden on campus last Wednesday, Oct. 3, foreshadowed a spring of fresh vegetables.
Fidelity teamed up with Green City Growers, who will staff the 1.6-acre garden going forward, to create fresh, healthy options at the company’s cafeteria.
The farm, located between 500 and 900 Salem St., is the first for Fidelity, which has offices across the nation.
Green City Growers, a company using business to solve social and environmental problems, grows and maintains urban vegetable gardens to revitalize vacant lots into productive places to grow food.
According to Kimberly Reingold, of Fidelity Investments, vegetables grown in the garden will most likely reflect the seasonal choices of the area as seen at local farm stands.
“We really have a focus on sustainability by creating unique features on the campus for health reasons and reducing our carbon footprint,” Reingold said.
The garden will benefit Fidelity and its 2,800 employees in Smithfield by offsetting produce costs in the cafeteria, and provide healthy, subsidized “fit meal” options for employees.
Randy Rossi, Smithfield town manager, attended the groundbreaking ceremony, applauding Fidelity for their green initiatives.
“It’s unique. I think it’s a great idea. It’s a nice way to use the property up there,” he said.
According to Rossi, plans at the garden include a compost center at the cafeteria, and a farm stand community area. He said Fidelity will donate one-third of their crops of fruits and vegetables to a local food bank as well.
Reingold said the campus is built in an irregular fashion where employees are encouraged to use walking trails or use energy efficient cars. There are mileage markers in the hallways at the 900 building, allowing employees to track their steps when they walk indoors.
“Our campus is designed to get employees out and to be physically fit,” she said. “There’s a lot of great things going on here, not only for the employees but for the environment too.”
Fourteen acres of wild meadows and a butterfly garden also call the 500-acre campus home.
As the campus continues to move toward a smaller carbon footprint, Reingold said Fidelity is reducing paper, water, and power consumption.