Microgreens Aid Recovery From Flooded Garden Storage Area

Sunny days at the Sill Garden.

Sunny days at the Sill Garden.

By Erika Longino, Sustainability Resource Center

“Were we to confront our creaturehood squarely, how would we propose to educate? The answer, I think is implied in the root of the word education, educe, which means “to draw out.” What needs to be drawn out is our affinity for life. That affinity needs opportunities to grow and flourish, it needs to be validated, it needs to be instructed and disciplined, and it needs to be harnessed to the goal of building humane and sustainable societies.” — David Orr

Environmental educator and ecological designer David Orr was on campus last week. His words have created the worlds by which programs like the Edible Campus Gardens are fostered. Last week, our affinity for life manifested in the form of cleaning up rusted tools and eating hard-earned greens.

Analeigh Sanderson and Erika Longino clean up damaged materials.

Analeigh Sanderson and Erika Longino clean up damaged materials.

Over the winter, a pipe broke in the basement where the campus gardeners store our trusty tools. It flooded. It flooded loads. And because of ongoing construction, we couldn’t access the tools immediately, so only reached them last week. The digging forks are rusty, the harvest aprons are molded, and now we find ourselves deep in the process of inventorying and cleaning the items from the flooded storage facility. We remain enthusiastic, though. Damages will be refunded in full, and we’ll have new tools to start the outdoor gardening season.

As we clean, we strive for Orr’s “affinity for life” and to keep a sense of humor. After all, the ground is snowy and frozen, so we can stay indoors protected from the elements, cleaning our supplies and dreaming about hitting the dirt with our new tools in the gardening months to come.

Steward Nick Volker chuckles at the tiny microgreens.

Steward Nick Volker chuckles at the tiny microgreens.

All the while, we’ve been growing happy little trays of microgreens in the greenhouse. Last week we invited our volunteers to come eat the fruits of their labor in celebration for all the work they have done with us.

By Friday, the weather cleared up enough that we could munch our microgreens outside, which is really where greens should always be eaten. With a bit of innovation and employment of unused space, the awakening of possibilities and potentials truly comes to life.

Erika Longino, Molly Mostert, Emma Wilson and Eric Devey enjoying fresh salads at sunset.

Erika Longino, Molly Mostert, Emma Wilson and Eric Devey enjoying fresh salads at sunset.

We hope to see you in the gardens! Email us at uofucampusgardens@gmail.com to learn more about volunteering hours. This organization is non-exclusive, and we promise your volunteer hours won’t be wasted here. You can take the skills you learn here to your own backyards, kitchens, and communities.

Erika Longino is a garden steward with the Sustainability Resource Center’s Edible Campus Gardens.

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