By Robert Meeson
For those people on campus who do not know, there is a garden on campus named after some weird water creature with tentacles that produces organic vegetables that are used all around Union: Octopus’ Garden! Dining services takes the valuable vegetables grown in the garden (tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, basil, etc.) to cook in places like Dutch and Ozone Café, which is great for promoting consumption from local food sources. Sometimes kids from the Kenney Community Center come to help and learn about gardening, but student and faculty volunteers are what keep the food growing.
Octopus’ Garden was founded in 2008 as a student-run project to grow food organically and sustainably on campus. In 2009 another student built a shed to learn about sustainable architecture for his senior project. Then, in 2011, some students got together to form the Octopus Garden Club with the intention of organizing student volunteers and to go beyond weeding in the garden and instead hold events educating students about food consumption, agriculture and sustainable food production.
Unfortunately, the club fell apart, and last year faculty and staff volunteers struggled to maintain the garden without much help from students. Despite these setbacks, we’re now trying to remedy the situation.
The garden has gathered a good amount of student interest this term, and a few have come together with plans to resuscitate the club. On Thursday, September 20, the club held a harvest dinner to celebrate the garden’s new body of support and its successful growing season. Club members cooked an all vegetarian dinner using vegetables from the garden which was served in Golub.
A decent number of students came and everyone enjoyed a well cooked meal while meeting others interested in getting involved with future Octopus projects. The Director of Sustainability, Meghan Haley-Quigley, ‘11, attended the dinner to talk directly to students about the efforts being made on campus to reduce Union’s carbon footprint and promote environmentalism on campus.
The new leaders of the Octopus Garden Club are looking to plan another dinner on a larger scale to showcase the garden’s produce and reach out to those who would like to get involved. Any students that are interested in becoming a part of the club or to learn more about what you can do at Octopus Garden should contact Sonia Sandoval ([email protected]) or Ram Batta ([email protected]).