Thursday, June 3, 2010

Workplace Vegetable Garden

Many of us spend many, many hours of our lives in an office setting. When I've worked for more conventional places, it always felt like a dirty little secret that I came home to chickens and homemade tempeh at the end of the day. For those of us focused on the dream of sustainable living, it can definitely be a challenge to convince your coworkers to make the office more sustainable as well.

I am a huge fan of office-based sustainability efforts. You have sort of a built-in community with common purpose and shared experiences to build on. The office carpool is of course one of the most popular (and most popularly mocked) of such efforts. When I worked at the Animal Shelter in town, I organized a bike pool with some of my coworkers. It made the 14-mile round trip a lot more bearable to have company, and HR stopped looking at me sideways once I had a whole posse of coworkers arriving for work early enough to change and shower in the locker rooms.

Currently I am fortunate enough to work in a small office housed in a historic adobe building. That means our energy usage is low, I don't have to deal with the smell of off-gassing carpet, and we cook lunch together often. Best of all, we have a vegetable garden.

Workplace veggie gardens are catching on in more corporate circles too, or so the NY Times tells me. They're cheap to "install", they give employees something rewarding to do on their breaks, and they ensure a supply of cheap local veggies for all to enjoy. I'm not sure of the square footage of ours, but it's huge, and it feeds the 3 employees here in the office, plus our 5 artists-in-residence and some of the neighbors. The garden is taking off right now, and we'll be enjoying our first salads of the season any day now.

What sustainable workplace measures do you have at the office? Any of you trying to get something started?

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