Germinate in your environment

Broccoli!

Broccoli!

By Erika Longino, Sustainability Resource Center

As spring weather takes hold, we see more and more evidence of abundance in sprouts, blossoms, and bolting winter crops. We have been fertilizing and enriching our soils at the Edible Campus Gardens with compost produced from last fall’s campus food waste, which is provided to us by University Dining Services. As we engage the process of sowing our season’s first seeds, we bear witness to our overwintered bounty as well. Parsley, broccoli, collard greens, chervil, and kohlrabi have exuberantly leafed out. As fast as we can harvest the tender green leaves, the plants strive to make flowers and set spring seed.

Campus construction projects have slowed some progress, but should be complete soon.

Campus construction projects have slowed some progress, but should be complete soon.

We continue to cope with the repercussions of campus construction and Jen Colby’s absence. Even as our biodiverse garden starts to burst into life, there are obstacles and challenges that alter the routine. The machine clatter and clank of construction projects sometimes accompany us as we plan, pick, prune, and plant our gardens. But April is around the corner, and there is food to be grown!

The goal of the student stewards of the Edible Campus Gardens is for a basic sense of connectedness, justice, and satisfaction that comes from being close to the food source. We believe that understanding nature creates a deep sense of ingenuity and proactivity. If you can remember that food comes from soil, water, and sunshine, you have limitless power to transform. If it means breaking up asphalt to access the soils underneath or rerouting rain gutters to nourish an herb garden, then so be it. No matter the neighborhood you grew up in or education you received, there is hope in garlic sprouting out of the straw mulch and peach blossoms in the sunshine.

Healthy garlic crop stands at attention at the Pioneer garden site.

Healthy garlic crop stands at attention at the Pioneer garden site.

Come and learn in our gardens. Volunteers are always welcome. For more information about volunteering, e-mail the Edible Campus Gardens at uofucampusgardens@gmail.com or sign up for our weekly updates.

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

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