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Whether it’s a ripe red tomato on a freshly grilled burger or slices of zucchini served with barbeque chicken, locally-grown fresh vegetables are a delicious product of summer. But a regular supply of fresh veggies isn’t always easy to come by.

Recognizing the need for fresh vegetables at our local food bank, Farm Bureau Financial Services volunteers rolled up their sleeves and got to work. In 2014, we replaced 1,600 square feet of manicured lawn on our corporate campus with a Giving Garden that raises an average of 2,000 pounds of produce per year.

Joelle Knowler, Benefits Specialist- Human Resources, has been involved since the beginning. “I knew this would be a great way to offer a volunteer opportunity for our employees on site while giving back to our community. Farm Bureau has a strong tie to agriculture and a garden just made sense,” she says.

Each summer, the garden bustles with more than 50 volunteers working in shifts to plant, tend and harvest the garden. Knowler explains, “Volunteers do everything that the garden requires – planting, raking, pulling weeds, harvesting and, finally, delivering fresh food to the Food Bank of Iowa.”

The result? More than 13,000 pounds of fresh produce donated to the Food bank of Iowa over the past six years - with plans for many more.

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Employees Work the Land

Robin Fielweber, Lead Applications Developer, has volunteered in the Giving Garden since its 2014 start. At home, Fielweber and her husband have a garden and an orchard. She says, “I decided to volunteer in the Giving Garden because I grew up on a farm and we always had a garden and preserved the food from it. Gardening is something I enjoy.”

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A History in Growing

At Farm Bureau, our employees are passionate about supporting the communities in which they live and work. For employees like Fielweber, volunteering in the Giving Garden is an easy way to give back to the community that can be done over lunch or right after work. She says, “I was even able to use company-provided volunteer time off to harvest from my own garden and orchard and then donated that food to the Food Bank of Iowa. Helping in the Giving Garden is the perfect volunteer activity for me.”

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The Opportunity to Give Back

Our companies and employees are proud to support organizations like United Way and give back in their local communities. From corporate volunteer days, to paid volunteer time off and special projects in individual locations, our employees have many opportunities to get involved.

Rooted in passion and purpose, the Giving Garden volunteers put their green thumbs to work and help ensure that many central Iowans enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables all summer long. If you’re passionate about putting others first, consider joining us. Check out our open positions, or join our Talent Network today.