Jasper Hill Farm sits downslope from a narrow dirt road that winds through the Northeast Kingdom’s Greensboro Bend. There’s no visible signage at the turnoff; instead, you’ll see a cow shed painted midnight blue with a mural depicting rolling hills under a full moon made of their iconic Bayley Hazen Blue, named the “World’s Best Unpasteurized Cheese” at the 2014 World Cheese Awards.
Cheese production is demanding work, so it’s a key priority for Jasper Hill to support their team members’ wellbeing. Given the company’s dedication to cooperative partnerships and place based excellence, it’s only natural that they’ve chosen us—Vermont’s only local independent not-for-profit health plan—as their partner in health.
“We joke that our employees don’t need gym memberships,” says HR & benefits manager Monique Beaudry, noting that their farm workers, for example, routinely walk as many as 12 miles a day. “But physical activity is just one part of the picture.”
As a member of our Blue Edge program, Jasper Hill works together with a dedicated wellness representative to design programming specific to the needs of the company and its employees. Highlights of their customized approach include an annual wellness fair; regular onsite chair massages; company-provided yoga equipment to promote yoga during lunch/ breaks; and healthy nutrition challenges focusing on eating fruits and vegetables.
One of the group’s favorite activities is the company’s twice weekly nine-minute meditations. This mindfulness program, which began in October 2018, is currently offered every Monday and Wednesday. Meditations are held at lunchtime to give most staff the best chance of participating. More than 10 percent of on-site employees take part in the meditation on a regular basis, with nearly 50 percent taking part at least occasionally.
Account Manager Leigh Harding is one of the program’s core participants. She says a big part of the program’s success comes from incorporating it directly into the workday.
“It’s not before work, it’s not after, it’s not something you have to stay late for,” Leigh says. “It’s something to look forward to halfway through the day. And it’s actually contributing to efficient and effective time when we do go back to our desk and to our jobs.”
Monique loves collaborating with us to design employee health and wellness programming that works. She finds the results her team is achieving “inspiring,” and she’s excited to continue working together with Blue Cross to build on the success of their existing programs. “This is the beginning of where we can go,” she says.