Give that Elephant a Hoe: A Student Garden is Coming!
May 6, 2010
This has been a fun and exciting semester (well it’s not quite over yet) working on the garden project. Click here to read about how our student-run garden initiative began. After everything that I wrote about in my previous post, the campaign kind of hit a lull. We weren’t sure what else to do besides just kind of wait around for everything to come together.
Yosefa and I are both members of Environmental Conciousness Outreach (ECO), the environmental group on campus, and we thought it would be a good idea to work on the garden initiative through the already established student group. We used the ECO name to apply for funds from the university (secured!) and stirred excitement about the prospect of a student garden by hosting a documentary screening (The Real Dirt on Farmer John) and having a seed bomb table at our annual EarthFest. The film was great and the event was even better. We had fantastic live bands including President Soup and Mornin’ Old Sport, recycled art, fresh dumpstered food, a petition to reduce paper use on campus, and Louis Vuitton spray painted bricks (to put in the backside of your toilet to make it low flow…pictured above). We got a nice list of garden-interested folks and are excited to have a meet and greet as soon as possible.
Now here is the really good stuff. We spray painted a plot for the garden near South Hall (on the ground, but very accessible) just the other day. A fence will go up by summer. The ExCollege course that Yosefa and I worked with a couple of Friedman School graduate students to submit has been accepted! Part of the course will be maintaining the new Tufts garden. We are all anxiously waiting to find out when the class will be held so we can secure a spot in our schedules. The course is called Emerging Alternatives in Modern Agriculture. Here is the course description:
Modern agriculture is the source of an immense majority of our food and is a foundation of the American economy. However, it is an economic system that relies on cheap fuel, low labor costs, and ever-increasing consolidation. In recent years, these industrialized inputs and processes have been indicted as a root cause of many of modern society’s woes: hunger, obesity, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, economic injustice, and physical and mental estrangement from the land. And yet, alternative systems of agriculture have emerged. Some are the simple revival of “antiquated” practices while others apply agricultural principle to technological innovation. Cities and communities are becoming active players in these new systems, and food is being “slowed down”. This course attempts to outline and elucidate some of these emerging agricultural systems, providing theoretical background and discussion, as well as practical, hands-on tools for becoming a part of these new systems, and preparation for civic engagement.
Yosefa and I could not be happier….a student garden is actually coming!! We can’t wait to make signs and have picnics and be merry. Although, perhaps building raised beds will be next.
Thanks to all the encouraging and supportive groups and people who helped push this project along:
Jeff and Mari (the ExCollege teachers)
Office for Campus Life (funding)
Julie Lampie (Dining Services)
George Ellmore (Dept. head for Env. Studies and member of the ExCollege board)
Arielle Carpenter (Food Talks and working on the farmers market)
Marc Eichen and Dick Simon (skilled home gardeners in Newton)
Crafts House (for hosting the screening/potluck and being awesome)
John Vik (and the rest of Grounds/Facilities at Tufts)
…Yosefa, please tell me if I am missing someone!