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Daily CSR
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Helping to create ‘plant-based vaccine for COVID-19’


Learn how the employees of ScottsMiracle-Gro collaborated with Medicago to fight the spread of coronavirus outbreak.

Dailycsr.com – 30 April 2020 - ScottsMiracle-Gro has made a commitment in fighting COVID-19, while all its colleagues from North America have also joined the cause of mitigating the spread of coronavirus in “unique and impactful ways”. The “Corporate and Foundation Communications Manager” of ScottsMiracle-Gro, Lindsay LaSala writes:
“Last week, I shared a story about my colleagues in Temecula, California, who donated 9,000 face shields to first responders in critical areas of need. A few days ago, I connected with two of my colleagues in our Saint-Bonaventure manufacturing facility in Quebec to hear their story”.
Miguel Mercier is a “Regional Quality Manager” while “Lawrence Vanderark”, is in R&D who work with Medicago to create a “soil mix” for developing a “plant-based vaccine for COVID-19”. Talking about their work, Vanderark said:
“We develop and distribute a full range of ScottsMiracle-Gro products for the gardening industry, from fertilizers to grass seed. However, we specialize in creating high-performance growing media products, including peat-based and bark-based mixes, composts and premium soils.
“I am with the R&D team. We do a lot of research to understand peat, the materials that go into our mixes, and formulate them”.
While, in Mercier’s words:
“I'm the technical services regional manager at our Canadian Saint-Bonaventure operation. I focus on everything related to quality and make sure our products meet the highest standards and the requirements of our customers”.
When asked about the work opportunity with Medicago while if ScottsMiracle-Gro shared any previous collaboration history with the former, Mercier replied:
“Yes, we have worked with Medicago before. They contacted us for the first time about four years ago when they were working to produce a vaccine with a tobacco plant. Medicago has a massive greenhouse for their plant-based research. And to grow plants, you need soil, so that’s where we came in”.
While Vanderark added:
“The R&D team has been responsible for developing a specially formulated soil mix for Medicago’s specifications and needs over the past several years. Last year alone, we delivered 4,250 bags to them. A few weeks ago, they re-engaged with us to distribute another batch for their latest efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19”.
Explaining about the soil mix, Mercier stated:
“It’s the same mix that we usually prepare for them. It consists of professional grade peat, perlite and some fertilizer. We have to ensure that it's really consistent and really course peat. A lot of work goes into developing the specifications to make sure that the mix Medicago receives is of the highest quality possible and that it’s going to perform at the highest standards possible”.
While, Vanderark explains how Medicago will be using the batch:
“Medicago is moving quickly. They announced the successful production of a novel coronavirus Virus-Like Particle (VLP) in just 20 days. With this soil batch, our operations team was able to readjust their production planning schedules, produce the batch and ship it within a week so that Medicago could do its important work. It’s an incredible feeling to be able to produce one of the components that will be used in the fight against the virus”.