Edible Schoolyard NYC partners with public schools to transform the eating habits of young New Yorkers through hands-on garden and kitchen classes integrated into the school day.
Since opening its original DUMBO, Brooklyn office in 2011, the nonprofit has experienced tremendous growth. Today, they operate in a total of six New York City schools, bringing an empowering “seed-to-table curriculum” to more than 3,000 public school students in high-needs areas across the city. With that program growth has also come the need for a larger office space.
As part of a local subsidy program, Edible Schoolyard NYC was given a larger space in January 2017, and we worked together to create an interior setting for their seven full-timers and 20+ additional staff that works for them, outfitting their new NY headquarters with additional workstations, communal areas for internal meetings and spaces to host consultants and funders. The result? A comfortable, efficient space with more storage capacity.
“The layout allows for a much more conducive work environment, where we don’t feel cluttered and on top of each other all the time,” says Luis Medina, Edible Schoolyard’s Operations + Finance Manager.
The team’s new workstations allow them to organize materials and comfortably fit five employees along one wall. Meanwhile, two executive desks on the opposite side and two conference tables allow team members to have multiple meetings simultaneously.
“Overall, the west elm WORKSPACE furniture has kept our office open and airy while simultaneously maximizing the space to allow for a professional, clean and inspiring work environment.” When community is what the Edible Schoolyard mission is all about, it only makes sense that it’s fostered and thriving within their workplace, too.
“We work in six schools throughout NYC, so we don’t often get to see our program staff in one place,” Medina says. “With our new space, we can more easily fit staff who come to our office to work or join meetings when they aren’t teaching. The WORKSPACE furniture allows us to have more formal workstations as well as flexible lounge areas to gather and meet.”
This way, staff can work solo with easy acess to others, allowing for functional focus that’s personal yet collaborative. Communal work areas encourage Edible Schoolyard staff to easily and more frequently interact with each other. Charlie Stacking Stools save space while creating a flexible, welcoming way to gather at team members’ desks for small meetings.
Working in a transformable space increases the number of choices an employee has during their workday. This expanded choice spurs spontaneous collaboration, fosters a greater sense of ownership over work and ultimately creates a stronger feeling of togetherness in the workplace.
The spaces we work in can make us healthier, happier and higher-performing—if designed so intentionally. Because connections to nature increase well-being and productivity, the finished workplace is lush with sturdy indoor plants year round.
Personalization is also vital to the modern office. We worked with the team to create a large-scale wooden block logo, welcoming visitors to the space. Photography of their students and student quotes line the walls to keep the team’s mission present at all times.
“These give us a sense of being among our students even when we’re not in the school gardens,” Medina says. “Their smiling faces brighten up the space, and the quotes continually inspire us!”