1,500 Employees Skip Holiday Party to Transform Local Farm

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Volunteers from NVIDIA Project InspireIn place of a holiday party, computer technology company NVIDIA conducted one of Silicon Valley's largest-ever employee volunteer events, with 1,500 employees and community members gathering to bolster a local farm's ability to continue providing students and families with access to fresh local produce.

NVIDIA's annual holiday initiative called Project Inspire began on December 9 and in two days transformed Full Circle Farm's operations, building structures to enable it to become financially self-sustaining and to expand its ability to provide nutrition education to students and families in Silicon Valley.

Employees constructed a new farm stand for selling produce, large swathes of land were primed for spring planting, irrigation was added to the farm’s orchard and they created an outdoor teaching facility where students can learn about the science of food and how to prepare healthy meals. They also improved the food storage and packing area, building and furnished an entirely new facility.

An estimated $380,000 was donated in material and labor to the 11-acre Sunnyvale, Calif. community farm, tripling the number of individuals it can serve.

Full Circle Farmis unique because it reinvests earnings from its produce back into the community through programs that teach kids and families about the importance of living healthy and eating local produce. (See www.fullcirclesunnyvale.org for information.)

"The work done in December will allow us to engage almost three times as many students as we currently do," said Wolfram Alderson, executive director of Full Circle Farm. "It will also improve dramatically the number of community volunteers that can now support the farm and enjoy locally-grown produce."

The farm project was more than seven months in the making and involved the tech company's partner City Year, which has helped them execute Project Inspire since 2009. (City Year gives young people the opportunity to learn leadership skills while helping at-risk students in schools throughout the U.S.)

Project Inspire has contributed about $1.7 million in grants and volunteer hours over five years to the Silicon Valley community. Last year, in lieu of a holiday party, NVIDIA hosted 1,000 employees and family members to revitalize San Jose’s History Park by adding 60 garden beds, planter boxes and even a greenhouse.

(WATCH the inspiring story below)

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