For James Brown, an Office Services Representative in KPMG’s Tysons Corner, Virginia, office, taking care of the environment is second nature.
In 2017, James hosted the first Living Wall initiative for Tysons Corner's employees in collaboration with Kyle Hendrickson, a Manager in the same office. The program originated from a discussion during a Living Green chapter meeting about how to evolve the well-attended annual gardening 101 class.
The objective became: to design and create an indoor garden for an urban office environment.
The eventual “Living Wall” stands tall in the Tysons Corner café at a magnificent seven feet. It features 16 pots of various herbs planted by employees and a drip down irrigation system. “We wanted people to create a visually pleasing and calming place despite being indoors. Now they can grab fresh herbs from the Wall to garnish their lunch and enjoy the aromatic environment while they eat,” says James.
They also paired the unveiling of the Living Wall event with a guest chef who cooked a special menu and talked about the importance of eating a healthy and clean diet.
The project clearly generated interest. The Washington, D.C. team followed suit soon after with their own Living Wall. Kyle, who has been with the firm for nine years, has seen how the program created excitement and sparked conversations.
So, what’s next?
First, more community work.
“I want us to get even more involved with our communities. We’re in the process of securing a community garden close to the office. We can garden throughout the summer as teams and donate the food we grow to local food banks,” James says.
Second, scaling impact by joining hands with other employee networks.
“We’re going to work doubly hard to coordinate more closely with other Living Green chapters so we’re combining forces for bigger impact,” says Kyle, such as volunteering on solar panel installs benefiting veterans alongside our colleagues in the Veterans Network.
Third, planting many more Living Walls.
Ultimately, this is something the firm can rally around and be proud of. And engagement is growing. “We as individuals must take better care of ourselves and our environment. We have to remind people that these little things we do help,” says James. And that begins with bringing people back in touch with nature.