Navigating a 40-foot bus through traffic and construction isn’t an easy job, but at UTA’s Meadowbrook office, bus operators can relax and recharge in new community garden. All summer, employees have been tending crops of tomatoes, pumpkins, corn, peppers, tomatillos, eggplant, squash and watermelon, with impressive results.

“We’ve harvested 400 pounds of produce so far,” said UTA Bus Operations Supervisor Connie Mason.

Employees maintain the garden during their lunch breaks and before or after their shifts. Although most of the garden is divided into employee plots, there’s a shared area where anyone can stop by and grab a healthy treat.

“We have people in the office who go out and pick their lunch,” Mason said. “With 20 different varieties of tomatoes, it’s fun to go try something different every day.”

The garden helps bus operators feed their families fresh produce and gives those who live in apartments a chance to grow their own food. Most importantly, Mason said, it’s been a way for employees to come together and get to know each other better as they work side by side.

“Some people have a lot of gardening knowledge, and others don’t really know how and are intimidated,” Mason said. “We say, ‘We’ll help you along the way.’ It’s so relaxing and such a great way to decompress after a long day.”