As part of an effort to increase the use of local products in Dining Services, planning for a school herb garden began last semester. The garden is located at the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s Kentland Farm.
Dining Services’ plots were located and planned courtesy of Brinkley Benson, Research Associate in the Department of Horticulture. Brinkley worked with staff to plant herbs to be used primarily in the Farms and Fields shop at Owens Food Court. Current crops include sage, thyme, dill, parsley, chives, and several varieties of basil. Though not USDA Certified Organic at the moment, these crops are managed in that manner.
Now that the garden is up and running, student involvement will be key to its continued success. What better way to get directly involved with the food you eat on campus than by growing it yourself? It doesn’t get much more local than this! Students demonstrated this involvement last week; sixteen volunteers turned out for the afternoon. Volunteers weeded beds and harvested herbs.
It truly was inspiring to witness their positive reactions to being so connected to their food (a first time experience for most). These students provided a great service, learned about sustainable food issues, and had fun in the process! Most have expressed interest in continued involvement with the garden. Thanks to everyone who participated!
Plans for the garden for the upcoming year include regular student volunteer contributions, increased involvement with focused student projects, and increased production to include other crops in addition to herbs.
Want to get involved with the garden? The next volunteer time is scheduled for the afternoon of Monday, September 14th. All volunteers will receive a free meal pass for use in on-campus Dining Centers. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231-1139 if you are interested in joining us!