Who among us doesn’t yearn to occasionally take a break from the daily grind and go outside for a lung full of fresh air and a few moments of sunshine?
Smokers have their respite from the office when they step out for a “light up” and a touch of brain relaxation. It’s what they perceive to be a pleasant time out from whatever annoys them. The rest of us poor slobs have to invent a reason to get outside and soak up a little vitamin D.
Toiling around in the dirt with your cubicle partner could foster a new respect and camaraderie that you never thought was there. Gardening at work could actually make working on the office work more enjoyable because you took a few minutes to unwind and regroup. That way, when you come back to the problem you need to solve in the office, you’re facing it with a new relaxed perspective. A few minutes of relaxation interspersed in your day can make a monumental difference.
Space is usually at a minimum but enthusiasm for gardening at work runs deep. Companies pay a lot of money for team building activities. This is a way to accomplish the same thing for far less money and reap the rewards that eating fresh produce can bring. Working in the garden can offer lessons about team work, problem solving and persistence. New friendships and workplace relationships are forged.
If you have even the smallest outdoor space at work, a tiny yard, a rooftop, a balcony, even a spec of a front lawn, it’s possible to have a garden. Some working locales have ample space but if yours is miniscule, a lush garden can still be yours to enjoy. A vertical garden utilizes space on a vertical plane instead of a horizontal one. Growing up instead of out is a concept that utilizes a small footprint but produces a large yield.
What you harvest could help promote healthy eating habits and give you a reason to try new recipes with your coworkers. Think salads, fresh salsa and strawberry smoothies instead of donuts, candy bars and microwave popcorn.
You could trade what you have an abundance of with neiboring offices.
If you have extra produce you could donate it to a food bank or shelter. You could start contributing to a leaner society instead of the national obesity epidemic the First Lady is trying to steer us away from.
Company supported gardening at work is a winning idea that’s easy to implement and contributes to a wiser way of living. It’s an investment in employee morale and health so it shouldn’t be that difficult to convince the boss that a little less grass and a little more veggies would be, in words of Martha Stewart “a good thing”.
A few tips to think about before undertaking a garden at work
1. Find the right space to do it, for example it should be sunny, and have access to water. Don’t rule out growing on walls or in towers, vertical gardening can produce great yields, use less water, cut down on weeds and harmful insects and be easy on your back.
2. Find out who will commit to participating and then decide the scope of the garden. You don’t want to start a really large garden and then not have the manpower to keep it maintained.
3. Find the funding, even though much of the work will be done on a voluntary basis, the seeds, water bill, tools, fertilizer, raised beds, trellisis and vertical aperatuses will require an initial outlay.
4. In some cases, additional help may be required for the watering and other daily manintence requirements. Sometimes, local teenagers or seniors can be hired for garden stewardship.
5. Establish a garden captain who will organize and make decisions about what to grow and what to do with the bounty that gets harvested.
6. Create a line of communications with employees so they will know the progress of and needs of the garden. Give updates at meetings, send emails or post on bulletain boards the stages of growth. If its not kept in their thoughts, participation may begin to wane, problems can’t be solved and successes can’t be celebrated if they aren’t communicated.
7. Think about using rain barrels, composters and worm hotels to cut costs on water and fertilizer.