As you may remember, I’m currently working with drink aficionados, innocent, and veg growing champions, GIY (Grow It Yourself), to promote the Sow And Grow campaign (#SowAndGrowUK). This is a pretty cool project which is all about getting kids to grow their own fruit and veg. The idea behind it being to educate children in where their food comes from, teach them skills to be self-sufficient and arm them with the knowledge to make better informed food decisions.
As part of Sow And Grow, Toddler L and I planted our own cress, carrots and runner beans. You can catch up on our gardening exploits in my first post about sowing the seeds, then my second post about progress after 6ish weeks when the veg had started growing. We’re now another four weeks down the line and I’m happy to report that our seeds are still flourishing – well, all bar one of the carrot pots which I think suffered from a combination of too much sun and not enough water. We’ll quickly pass over that point though…
On an emotional day – probably not too dissimilar to waving your kid off to Uni – our two runner bean plants and carrots made their way into the big, bad world. After having our garden landscaped last year, we don’t have a designated veggie patch just yet, so instead the plants have been intermingled among lavender plants. When we get around to it, the plan is to buy a trough planter so that we can grow fruit and veg in a specific area. Until that point, we may just have to eat lavender-scented vegetables!
At the time of writing, we’ve not eaten the runner beans or carrots yet. We ate our first round of cress and have actually planted some more, but the beans and carrots aren’t quite there yet. Looking at the growers’ guide we were sent with the seeds, we’ve probably got another month left on the runner beans, whilst the carrots should be edible imminently. Exciting times.
As part of the campaign, we were invited over to innocent HQ last week for a tour. When it comes to awesome places to work, innocent is right up there – so much so that it often features in lists of the coolest offices around. There’s a definite ‘cool factor’ surrounding both innocent and Fruit Towers, so we were looking forward to checking it out and seeing what the hype was about.
I’ve worked in some pretty nice offices for some very forward thinking companies. However, never have I worked anywhere as random as Fruit Towers. As soon as we went in, we were greeted with astro turf walls, plastic pigeons and two huge fridges of drinks. As we waited for our guide – staff from around the business volunteer to make sure drinkers get a fun and engaging grand tour of the building – we tucked into a smoothie and some fruit.
The first bit we were shown was the canteen / breakout area. Within here, there was fake grass, trees, benches, bunting, table football and table tennis. If I worked for innocent, I’d imagine it’s where I’d spend most of my time – well, until I got sacked for skiving.
There’s also the products kitchen at the back where all of the tasting and development is done – again, as an employee you can sign up to get involved in this. There’s also the famous banana phone which is mentioned on all the packaging for customers to ring – while this is no longer operational, calls that ring through to the office are answered with “Hello, innocent banana phone…”
As we were shown around the different floors, there’s some pretty random, but cool, stuff which are just part and parcel of the building. For instance, there’s a library, an outside balcony with veg and fruit being grown, random clues littered around for a treasure hunt, a glue stick stuck to the ceiling for whatever reason, a LEGO wall, different themed meeting rooms (one has a train track on the roof), a Lest We Forget Wall featuring personalised smoothie labels of past employees, RIP displays of discontinued products and even a ‘kill switch’ which cuts all the power when the last person leaves the office. As I say, random, but cool.
One of the cool things from a company perspective is innocent’s history, which is displayed as you go up the stairs. We tend to think that these huge companies have always been that way, but seeing where they’ve come from and what they’ve achieved is pretty inspiring. It’s pretty crazy to think that they started as three mates selling smoothies in 1999 under the name Fast Tractor.
These days, their product range is huge. From smoothies to juices to coconut water to kids’ drinks, it’s evident that the whole focus on natural, healthy and tasty drinks remains as strong as it did at the start. With that, we come full circle to Sow And Grow. For a company that’s got to where it has by utilising fruit and veg, you can see why they want to inspire the next generation to grow their own.
As part of the campaign, innocent has actually just brought out new Sow And Grow-related packaging giving people the chance to get involved and win their own Sow And Grow packs. These just for kids fruit smoothies come in a pack of four, count as 1 of your kid’s 5-a-day and are available in a range of flavours. Toddler L has been sampling these since our visit – the fact that she can finish them in less than a minute suggests that they must taste pretty good!
Is your school signed up to Sow And Grow? If so, then you can upload your photos at https://innocentsowandgrow.com/ to be in with the chance to win monthly prizes from innocent and see your classroom crowned as Sow & Grow champions!
N.B. This is a commissioned post in collaboration with innocent as part of my role as a #SowAndGrowUK ambassador.