After the schools reopened and our staff were returning to the office on a more regular basis, it was clear that most of the world had a new attitude about the balance of working from home, commuting, and what they wanted “work” to feel like. We’ve always worked hard to maintain a humane, comfortable environment for people to work in. Of course that means things like ergonomics and free drinks and snacks, and yes, we are an IT company with an arcade cabinet and music pumped throughout the office most days. But how can we go farther? The farmstand was one of these ideas.
We planted our first seedlings in 2021, and since then we’ve gone through countless heads of lettuce, sugar snap peas, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, beans, bok choy, and this summer we produced more cucumbers than we could eat! Everything is grown hydroponically right inside our office on Prospect. Our Operations Manager and I take turns maintaining the water levels and checking the pH and nutrients, and then the staff help themselves to anything that looks tasty. Lunch food and snacks are the most common, but sometimes someone will harvest the ingredients for a salad to go with that night’s dinner at home. We’ve been drying our excess herbs and sneaking them into packages when we need to send things to our remote staff too. Even Penzey’s would be jealous of our dried basil.
At this scale, we aren’t providing all the produce for our staff by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s super fun, the produce is excellent, and you can’t get any more “local” than “grown down the hall”. We don’t currently have plans to setup additional farmstands, but we have moved toward starting our own seedlings in a germination station.
We’ve also started doing more 3D printing around the office for producing some of the parts we need with less waste and no shipping. Any scraps or failed prints or parts we don’t need anymore are all recycled back into fresh filament to use in future jobs. Not every green step you take is going to change the world, but each time we make something ourselves out of recyclable materials instead of shipping it from half way around the world, it helps.
Take a look at what your neighbors are doing for Park Ridge sustainability!