Victory Garden Sprouts in Vietnam
Timberland’s code of conduct coordinator in Vietnam had this success story to share from General Shoes Co. Ltd., one of our factory partners there:
In front of me is a garden full of green vegetables and laden with fresh squashes. This is the vegetable garden at the General Shoes factory.
Looking at the vegetable garden in the morning sunshine makes me recall the strike that happened in this factory 10 months ago, sparked by workers dissatisfied by the lack of clean, healthy food. When the strike occurred, the manager asked me how to solve the problem. I advised him to use his own workers instead of a food subcontractor to supply and serve food for the factory, and think about how to provide healthy, fresh food for their employees.
The factory hired one new manager who took care of their canteen, and used the factory’s own workers to serve the food. The employees’ food was significantly improved, and feedback showed workers were satisfied with the changes.
6 months later this 2500 square meter vegetable garden was born, planted on the available land behind the factory. Several factory employees who have planting experience tend to the garden, which is filled with morning glories, bitter melon, squash, cucumbers … planting varies on a seasonal basis and the garden provides fresh vegetables for factory workers every day.
Factory employees shared this positive feedback about their “victory garden”:
“I feel safe when I have lunch in the factory. Outside vegetables are very expensive and have a lot of chemicals. I think the factory is kind to plant (the garden) for us.”
“I worked here for years and witnessed many strikes relating to food, but now the factory is much better. They changed the kitchen people, improved our meals and now we have fresh vegetables.”
“I like to do this job (picking the vegetables). When I pick, I feel very happy as I see the achievement from my planting. I would like to have more land for more planting.”