Personal Plates: Bayer employees find passion in growing and gathering their own fresh food

Personal Plates


The grow-gather-cook lifestyle is something that fuels us at Bayer. Maybe that’s why our work in sustainable agriculture strives to keep wild spaces wild, encourages biodiversity and celebrates variety. Because, after all – it simply tastes better.

There’s a remarkable kind of joy that stems from having a successful mushroom hunt, perusing a farmers market on a sunny day, or serving a loved one a healthy, homemade meal. This appetite for the earth’s bounties is what connects us to it – and each other.

We found three Bayer employees to talk more about this passion, their beloved fresh-food hobbies and how it all betters their lives, from each pluck in the garden to every snag of a squid (yes, really!). Keep reading to meet Ruth, Amy and Shona.


Administration Assistant / Courtyard Cultivator
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Personal Plates Ruth

While Ruth was always interested in nourishing her body with fresh ingredients, it wasn’t until she and her husband had young children that her garden began to take shape. Her husband built two vegetable planters in the back garden and also a herb garden on their deck, all in an effort to grow healthy goodness with the kids and eat fresher than ever.

Once the rewards flourished from plant to plate, Ruth discovered the absolute joy of not only growing her own food, but sharing it with loved ones. She takes the job of being a good role model for her kids seriously, using her green thumb to teach them how to live and eat well.

“There are so many reasons why nutrition is important to me. Food is the fuel that runs our bodies.” - Ruth

One of Ruth’s favorite recipes is more of a guide for eating up all her healthy leftovers. She cooks together a mix of fresh vegetables, eggs and cheese – sometimes folding in a leftover like curry – and wraps it all up in a toasty tortilla with a condiment of her choosing.

Ruth’s favorite thing from her garden is, understandably, everything. But she does appreciate the abundance of fresh lettuce she can incorporate at nearly every meal, as well as the sweet peas – if she can get to them before her children devour them first.


Business Intelligence Manager / Squid Wrangler
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Personal Plates Amy

Eight years ago, Amy would probably laugh at anyone who asked about her fishing skills. Ask today and she’d give you the tastiest flash-fried calamari recipe you could ever wish for.

So how did she make the leap? Amy’s partner first introduced her to fishing, and she wants it known that saying he’s keen is an understatement. She quickly realized if she wanted to spend any time with him, she’d have to give it a go. Now, fishing is her passion, too.

The two like to fish throughout Regional Victoria, with Westernport Bay and Port Phillip Bay as their local spots. They sometimes collect wild mussels or forage for samphire, and they also have a veggie patch, fruit trees and edible natives at home.

“Squid is a sustainable catch as it is in abundant supply and only lives for about one year. We only take what we need, and we make sure nothing goes to waste. We eat the tube and tentacles, and the rest we use for bait.” - Amy

Want to know how to catch your own squid like Amy? She’s got a favourite fishing style, called “squid jigging,” which uses lures rather than bait. She describes the action as dropping a lure down to just above the bottom, then you “jig” it up and down in short, sharp lifts to imitate a fleeing prawn or injured fish. Once the squid’s shooter tentacle is hooked, you maintain pressure, slowly wind it in, and hope you don’t get inked in the process.

We think it’s safe to say Amy’s fishing skills have grown with her fresh-food passions. 


Role: Trade Activation Manager / Zen Gardener
Location: Sydney, Australia

Personal Plates Shona

Shona’s garden is more like a sky-high sanctuary, and a perfect example of how anyone can grow fresh foods from just about anywhere – even without a yard.

Yes, Shona’s got the balcony garden dreams are made of, where she can walk out any time of day and pluck fresh, nutritious snacks or ingredients for a homemade recipe. It’s no fad for her, either. She’s been gardening since 2013 with no plans of stopping. (We can assume the friends and family she loves to cook for are incredibly thankful for her continued passions.)

“Food is my medicine.” - Shona

Tomatoes are her favourite, hands down. And as any garden-fresh tomato lover will tell you, the ones from the shops just don’t taste quite the same. While Shona enjoys them fresh, her favorite way to eat them is by cooking them down into a rich tomato sauce – complete with a variety of fresh herbs, of course. 

But just as she takes the time to master her recipes, she’s also perfected her own compost to use in her balcony garden. Her secrets? Lots of worms, watching out for bad bugs and keeping things well watered.

Thank you Ruth, Amy and Shona for sharing your personal plates with us.