Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Community Gardens By Owen M.

Community gardens are sweeping through schools around the nation and some OES students may not realize that the gourmet tomato basil soup that they’ve just eaten is comprised of ingredients that were grown a mere 100 feet from where they were sitting. Kelly Cowing, main coordinator of the Bon Appétit food service at OES says, “It’s important that people start to realize the benefits both economical and pro-sustainable of community-grown gardens.” Kelly came from Reed College where the students had planted a half-acre of land, giving her insight into the experience. Bon Appétit has also helped schools such as Duke University, Washington University, Colorado College, and many others plant “student gardens.” These “student gardens” are setting the tone for a more wholesome, better nourished, and greener generation...

Here at OES, gardens are sprawled throughout campus; locations include the greenhouse, multiple classroom gardens in the Lower School, a healthy herb and greens garden in the Middle School, and a vegetable garden next to the greenhouse and the Upper School.

We have all walked by the language office windows this year and noticed the luscious, well-kept garden, and wondered, “Wow, where did this come from?” (If you haven’t seen it yet I would recommend doing so before winter.) This garden was actually around last year but over the summer it was upgraded and carefully maintained. Some of the staff from Bon Appétit and some of the OES faculty members continue to keep the land in good shape. Items currently growing in the garden include rosemary, basil, sage, lavender, peppers, and tomatoes, many of which (I would talk to Bon Appétit staff if you’re interested) are incorporated into the lunch menus each day. Kelly says that she and others hope to plant lettuce, broccoli, and other greens before the winter weather approaches.

That the OES community strives to create and maintain land capable of feeding students emboldens the idea of community and helps to fulfill the OES vision: “Connecting people, ideas, and cultures to advance knowledge, create solutions, and enhance meaning.” I hope that OES will continue to cultivate and encourage community-grown gardens, and hope to see more students around the Upper School become a part of the garden project.

Update: Keep a lookout for a visiting goat in the next week or so—OES is exploring this as a way to keep invasive species from invading our gardens and grounds!

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