You may be wondering, “Does the GEC team just set up in front of a store and stand around for hours talking to people? Do they ever get to explore the places they are visiting?”. Well, have I got some stories for you! Today I would like to take a moment to talk about the off-the-clock hours of the GEC.
Each state or city that we’ve visited has a story to tell, but only a few have made it to the top of my list. Here goes:
My first GEC tour was in Toronto visiting Loblaw’s and Real Canadian Superstores. It was a Saturday evening and after a long day at the mobile greenhouse the boys decided we would like to take an adventure to the CN Tower! Working from 9:30am to 7:30pm makes it a little difficult to go on an adventure, so we were rushing over after work, and we ended up making it just in time to order dinner. While ordering our food, we engaged the waiter with some casual conversation and we ended up talking about why we were in Toronto and all about the GEC! We are always trying to make an impact, even on our off hours as #GrowToPeople.
New York/Niagara Falls:
In June, we made our way to New York to visit Wegmans stores and on our way there we decided to make a quick detour and see Niagara Falls! This would be my first time seeing it and from what I’ve heard the Canadian side is much better than the US side (#truth). We drove there in our NatureFresh wrapped van and of course that brought some attention to our crew. This undoubtedly started conversations with everyone from the parking gatekeeper, to our waitress at lunch. Even without the mobile greenhouse on site we are able connect with customers from everywhere. This is what I love about the GEC program – even when you are not on site, you still get to make connections with people and help them understand where and how their food is grown.
A few weeks ago, the GEC team and a group of NatureFresh Farms staff members went for an exciting trip to Arkansas to visit the Walmart Headquarters! NatureFresh will soon be supplying to Walmart stores in the Ohio/ Pennsylvania Region, so we went to Arkansas to display our mobile greenhouse at the #SaturdayMorningMeeting and show Walmart employees how we grow. This was a huge success for NatureFresh and also a huge success for consumers, too! Now more people will be able to try our products, especially the renowned #TOMZ. After speaking with over one thousand people on an early Saturday morning, we started to make our way back to Leamington, ON. As we were driving through Missouri (my home state), we decided to stop in St. Louis and visit the St. Louis Arch. Of course, we’re still in our NatureFresh gear at this point, and as we are standing in line for the terminal to go up to the top of the arch, we’re asked once again, “So what is NatureFresh?” Another awesome opportunity to talk about this great company! People were genuinely interested in the GEC, our roles on the trailer, and the company itself. It’s amazing that we were still talking about NatureFresh 680 feet in the air!
Our most recent trip was to Ottawa, Ontario to visit Loblaws stores. This would be my second tour in Canada, and my first time in the nation’s capital. Arriving a day early, we had the opportunity to visit the Parliament buildings and watch the Northern Lights show on Parliament Hill. Also, I got to eat my first Beavertail, the most delicious pastry in the world! Whenever I talked to consumers over the next few days, I told them that we went to see Parliament and toured the city. We were able to better connect with consumers and have more meaningful conversations.
All of these adventures and the countless more that we have experienced is exactly why I love the Greenhouse Education Center. It gave me an opportunity to explore and meet new people from all over the world, and not just at stores we’re set up at, but at places we go “off the clock”. You see, the GEC is not just about setting up in front of a grocery store and showing customers how we grow, it’s about talking to the many people we meet along the way! We are able to experience different cultures, connect with people who visit the mobile greenhouse and retail stores, and make amazing memories. The GEC has been an adventure of a lifetime and I am so thankful that I could be a part of it this summer.
Until next time!