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headshot of joris bracelli

Community, Sustainability, and Well-being: Takeda's Employee Garden

A thriving community around you is a powerful force. It brings people closer, unites common passions, and can often be a driving force for change. Oftentimes, change can be the most meaningful and visible at the local, community level.

It was this idea that Joris Bracelli, Immersive Technology Manager in Takeda’s Neuchâtel, Switzerland office, had in mind when he pitched his leadership for an employee community garden.

“I'm very interested in sustainability and wellbeing, and I wanted to have a garden for some time,” explains Joris. “I thought, ‘Why not bring it to the Neuchâtel office where my colleagues and I can enjoy it together?’”

Joris built his case for the garden on two main tenets:

  • Sustainability — “Sustainability is a way of living, and by changing our habits, each of us can have a real impact on the environment—one of Takeda’s core commitments. A community garden puts into practice ideas like environmental-consciousness and reducing your impact.”

  • Well-being — “If employees are happy at work, there's a better chance they'll stay at the company.”

    Armed with costs for the project, resources Takeda would need to provide, and the support of dozens of Neuchâtel employees, Joris successfully pitched the idea to his leadership team. “I’m grateful for their support,” shares Joris. “Takeda funded the entire project.”

    The garden broke ground in April 2021, with over 60 employees contributing to the garden. In just two weeks of hard work, Joris and his peers created garden fields on 1,000 square meters of land, just south of the office.

before and after images of a building location
I truly felt we were a team and community, working under the rain, carrying the compost, cutting and cleaning the cardboard. We were so proud of the result! Everyone was so happy.

Joris Bracelli - Manager, Immersive Technologies

One of Joris’s favorite aspects of the garden is that it incorporates permaculture techniques. “Permaculture draws inspiration from flourishing natural ecosystems,'' explains Joris. “The idea behind it is to listen and adapt to the garden’s needs. We created hedgehog houses—hedgehogs can eat 50 slugs a day, which keeps our soil clean. We also built a perch to attract raptors that will eat voles or other rodents. Basically, we’ve created a self-sufficient, living garden that can adapt to any problems or events we may encounter.”

Today, the garden is a thriving community, with employees managing their own parcels of land. Most employees garden after work, or come by during the weekend with their families to grow and collect their vegetables.

a farm area with firewood and picnic tables
At the moment, this is the thing I'm most proud of in my life. It's a kind of initiative that will fulfill you with so much gratitude and joy.

“It has fostered great collaboration and engagement for our office,” smiles Joris. “It gives a real sense of community, and is highly appreciated by people who are more and more sensitive to the planet and the impact of climate change.”

What does Joris like to grow in his parcel? “I have 20 square meters that provide me about 50kg of potatoes a year,” shares Joris. “The other 20 square meters I grow different vegetables, like tomatoes, butternut, salads, and beetroots. I also like to grow flowers to attract insects, bees, and other pollinators—I enjoy seeing them fulfill their needs while I work in the garden.”

On the experience creating the community garden, Joris reflects, “At the moment, this is the thing I'm the most proud of in my life. It’s a kind of initiative that will fill you with so much gratitude and joy. I encourage others to launch sustainability projects at their own workplace—it’s so worth it!”

Learn more about Takeda’s commitment to the planet and sustainability here.

collage of different farms

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