Google Employees And Growing Organic Herbs (14 pics)

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Despite Essig's impressive credentials, it still took five interviews before she landed the job at Google. It's a big job. "The Farm to Table program at Google is about engaging Googlers and our partners about where food comes from, how it's grown and why that matters," she says. The goal is to have people learn about "growing food, or technology and food, or innovations in food." They are standing in front of one of those technologies, the "Leafy Green Machine," a hydroponic garden in a shipping container made by Freight Farms.
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The idea for food education and technology programs at Google came from several people. Michiel Bakker, who heads the Global Food team, was one of them. He came to Google in 2012 from the hospitality industry.
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Google's executive chef Scott Giambastiani was also responsible for the idea...
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...along with executive chef and operations program manager Quentin Topping, who is also known for supporting local, highly sustainable seafood practices and an annual seafood fair at Google.
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The Leafy Green Machine is quietly parked behind this sand volleyball pit at the Googleplex. There are lots of organic gardens at the Googleplex, but this demonstrates an organic garden that can be placed in a city, in cold climates, or even in places where the soil has been contaminated, Ben Kutchur says.
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The Leafy Green Machine uses a refurbished refrigerated shipping container and pink LED lights to grow food.
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The plants grow sideways.
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The plants are stacked in rows of vertical hydroponic shelves, meaning they grow without soil. The water is piped in above them. To access the plants, the shelves are removable. In this way, one shipping container can grow hundreds of plants, as Kutchur, demonstrates.
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Google uses the Leafy Green Machine to grow herbs like sage, thyme, and many varieties of basil. It takes about 3 weeks to go from seed to harvest. One shipping container provides enough herbs to supply the Googleplex for a week's worth of meals.
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In addition to programs that show Googlers how food is grown, employees can also take free cooking classes. This classroom is located at the back of one of Google's cafes.
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Cooking classes are one of the most popular perks among employees, Google tells us. The class the day we visited was full.
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If you don't want to cook your own lunch in a class, the free food menu is very appealing. There's always chicken, fish, beef, and vegetarian options. There's almost always some Asian-inspired entrees and salads as well. Two lunch options on this day are grilled flank steak salad with jalapeño ranch dressing, and blueberry, mint and almond salad.
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We ordered the grilled chicken and salsa salad and the blueberry, mint and almond salad. They were so yummy we ate most of our lunch before remembering to take the picture.
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