The average New Yorker probably doesn’t get too many opportunities to grow their own organic produce while toiling away in an office cubicle.
What’s a health-conscious worker to do when they’re craving seasonal veggies for lunch but only have a hot dog stand to turn to? Order in, of course.
Katchkie Farm, a 60-acre organic farm in Kinderhook, New York, has recently started a farm-to-cubicle program that delivers produce directly to participating companies each week.
Companies that enroll a minimum of 20 employees receive generous boxes of seasonal produce (anything from peas and asparagus in the spring to tomatoes and corn in the summer to squash and kale in the fall) to share. How much will eating like a farmer cost you? A full 22-week share is $580 and 11-week half shares are available for $290.
Last year participating companies included Teach for America, The Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit and Kohn Penderson Fox Associates.
In addition to saving employees a trip to the grocery store or local market, the farm-to-cubicle programs have encouraged healthy eating and camaraderie. According to Katchkie Farms, companies have held in-office “Iron Chef”-style cooking competitions and employees have bonded over exploring new veggies and sharing recipe successes and flops.
Are veggies at work a harbinger of overall office health and wellness?
The rise of community supported agriculture (CSA) programs in corporate settings seems to go hand-in-hand with the teamwork-based focus of modern open office design. Sure, employees aren’t out plowing fields in the great outdoors, but they are harvesting fresh ideas in open spaces that offer plenty of productivity-promoting natural light and views of the outdoors.
Offices that want to take a holistic approach to improving business by improving the lives of employees have plenty of options from enrolling in farm-to-cubicle programs, offering smoking-cessation programs, and giving employees free or discounted gym memberships.
Of course, they can pick out office furniture and equipment that both promotes health and teamwork. Check out some great options:
- These high-tech workstations from Haworth’s Race line offer a large work surface on which to spread out paperwork, projects or produce deliveries, plus plenty of space underneath to stow your groceries. What’s more, the low glass dividers offer workers a little privacy when needed, but still promote plenty of collaboration as well.
- When they’re being asked to think outside of the box, it’s probably not ideal to have your employees stuck in a literal box (i.e.: cubicle). Meet the Ultra Desk System, a sleek 6-by-6 work area with mobile pedestal. Sure, workers won’t have as much wall space to decorate with garland and twinkly lights come Christmas time, but somehow we think they’ll appreciate the fact that everyone, not just the guys in the corner offices, will have access to windows with views of blue skies and sunshine.
- When employees need to divvy up the spoils of their CSA share or serve up their farm-fresh dishes to hungry co-workers, they’ll need a table. A big one. This 72-by-30 inch oversized laminate table should do the job.
- Eating more fruits and veggies is one step toward a healthier lifestyle, another big one is getting up off that office chair for more than just a trip to the bathroom. Sitting behind a desk all day can increase your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and blood clots, which is why some offices are adopting standing desks for health-conscious employees. Often, these desks are adjustable, allowing employees to stand or sit for portions of the day. Standing for stretches allows muscles to move more, improves circulation and lowers blood pressure.
- Frequent desk diners stick to handheld foodstuffs (think sandwiches, bagels, burritos and doughnuts) rather than busting out those high-falootin’ forks for lunch. However, when you’re participating in a CSA, chances are you’ll find that you don’t want to be limited to meals that come encased in a bun or burrito, which is where these pen-to-utensil sets come in. Just top off a standard ballpoint pen with this easy-to-stow fork, spoon and knife set and you’re ready for gourmet dining at your desk. They’re not technically office furniture, but these portable utensils will be critical to embracing your new healthy philosophy at work.
- Any good farmer (or CSA participant) knows the importance of good stewardship to the earth. One way to spread this practice in the office is by making sure your office furniture is sustainable. If you’re buying new, look for companies that manufacture products using smart design and materials that are sustainable, recycled and recyclable, and that have a small carbon footprint. Better yet, don’t add to the millions and millions of pounds of office furniture that ends up in landfills every year and just buy used or refurbished items from Arnolds.
Photo courtesy of Ramsey Everdaypants/Flickr