The Grow-Your-Own Lunch Hour
By Rachel Wong

(Business 2.0) – This is not your garden-variety corporate campus. Behind the Novato, Calif., headquarters of Birkenstock USA, best known for its iconic sandals and tree-hugging customers, employees have spent the past 10 years cultivating an organic garden on the company's 90 acres of land. As part of Birkenstock's Green Team--a nature-loving group of employees who volunteer their time toward making the 140-person company more environmentally conscious--interested workers receive 6- by 10-foot plots where they can grow anything from tomatoes to thyme. It's far from an Edenic paradise; aspiring gardeners have to combat claylike soil and sweltering summers. Still, those who garden tend to harvest enough to share with their families, fellow employees, and even area wildlife. "The general premise is that half of the produce is for the gardener, while the other half is for the local critters," says program manager Debbie McMurray. "Employees can grow anything they want." Almost anything, McMurray clarifies. "Within the law, of course!" -- RACHEL WONG