nearly a year ago, USF professors melinda stone (media studies) and seth wachtel (art + architecture) and eleven first-year female farmers set out to plan and plant an organic garden on campus. the organic garden was (and is) part of a USF living-learning community called, fittingly, the garden project.
the organic garden is on the lone mountain campus. it's a quarter-acre plot, located on the south-east side, sweetly sandwiched between the education and ROTC buildings.
when they began, the land looked like this:
and then like this:
by spring (after a semester of testing the soil, treating the soil, cover crops, and a thousand other things to do and consider and research and learn and examine and experiment), it looked like this:
by spring, the garden was a garden. but it was also a lab. for garden project students, it was a green lab to grow food and community. for art + architecture students, it was a public space lab to design and build a beautiful toolshed, benches, and a community board. for my digital journalism students, it was a green media lab to investigate, interview, photograph, videotape, and blog garden stories.
(see jacob marx's "More than Plants," brigid moore's "Garden Vs. Garden," laura plantholt's "Freshmen Female Farmers," and miles simcox's "USF Organic Garden Project.")
the "problem" with the campus garden is that by the time the plants have soaked in enough california sunlight and drunk enough water and taken in enough nourishment from the soil to produce food, the eleven first-year farmers and their profs have bolted for the summer. who will water?! who will weed?! who will harvest all the delicious food?!
enter the summer garden crew.
a group of between 25-30 USF staff, students, librarians, and faculty has been tending the garden seven days a week and have been, by all accounts, learning a lot and having a blast. with organizational help from christin anderson at wellness, we've established a daily watering and weeding schedule, have cleared off new plots, and have planted new crops.
in return for labor, we get to harvest food. good food. real food. earlier this week, i brought home a bag full of green goodness.
last night, with a little help from mollie katzen's moosewood cookbook, i stir fried a good portion of it, laid it over some soba noodles, and had a delicious dinner with sarah.
coming soon: zukes! please, please share your favorite zucchini recipes!