Due to the nature of the industry, here at Integrate, each employee has learned to wear many hats. We are all well abreast with various topics in the communications field, but now a couple of the Integrate employees can also be considered expert gardeners thanks to our blossoming sweet potato plant, Gary!
Integrate’s gardening sector began in December when I was trying to eat healthily amidst the high caloric meals and treats surrounding the holidays. One day for lunch at work, I brought a sweet potato, but then went to get pizza with my coworkers instead (I did order veggie pizza on wheat crust…). A week later, my lone sweet potato was still sitting on my desk gathering dust. At that point I was wary to eat it, so I decided to put it in a mason jar with water, a la 4th grade science fair project, to see if it would grow.
Dubbed by a coworker as “Gary,” the potato plant’s initial growth was in the form of mold. The Integrate team urged me to throw Gary away and suggested that perhaps I started the growth process past his expiration date or that sweet potatoes might not grow like the traditional russet potatoes, but I believed in my potato plant and kept him on my desk, mold and all. When it was time for the office to take our two week leave for the holidays in December, Gary still hadn’t grown anything but mold and my coworkers warned me that when we returned from the break, the only thing Gary would have done was stink up the office, but my confidence in Gary was steadfast and I left him as he was.
On January 5th, 2015, the day the Integrate team returned to work from our holiday break, Gary greeted us with tall vines that were filled with lush green leaves… Much to our surprise, he had made it through the mold phase and turned into a beautiful [sweet potato] plant! Similar to the New Year, Gary was a new man. He was rapidly growing at the average rate of two inches per day. Because of his continuing growth, Julianne, Kaitlyn and I (members of the Integrate team on the north side of the office) planted Gary in an actual pot with soil and placed him on a table by the sun. Gary is still speedily growing and soon, we’ll have to move him to the earth’s soil, as he’s outgrowing his current pot.
Moral of Gary’s story is that my “healthy lunch” turned into an enjoyable project for my coworkers and me. While it may seem silly, we all look forward to seeing Gary’s growth every morning and on Monday’s after we leave him for the weekend. I think this is proof that in the work place, it’s refreshing to do something productive outside of day-to-day tasks that will put a smile on your face. It’s strangely rewarding to actually see the results of our semi-hard work. Maybe one day Integrate will become a self-sustainable office and grow a variety of fruits and vegetables, but for now, the north side of the office is content being caretakers to Gary as a side job.
Written By Laura Littlejohn