New garden proposed on East Campus to supply cafeteria

New garden proposed on East Campus to supply cafeteria

The location of the garden proposed by the projects in sustainability class April 18, 2013, outside of the Student Services building. The garden would provide vegetables for the cullinary arts department.

Oona O’Toole, Staff Writer

City College is looking at the possibility of planting a sustainable garden to supply foods to the culinary arts department.

Environmental studies professor Adam Green has proposed to create a new garden on campus that would supply the cafeteria with fresh herbs, and eventually vegetables and fruits.

Inspired by Ryan Harb, a well-recognized permaculturist, students on campus have become motivated to follow in his footsteps.

UMass Permaculture garden which is the basis for the City College plans. (click to enlarge)

“We are using it as an exercise for the students,” said Green. “It is an experimental garden—maybe an herb garden—probably not too large at this stage.”

After getting the go ahead to explore the idea from City College Superintendent-President Lori Gaskin, Green took the proposal to his classes. There are several student groups performing “feasibility analyses” to help implement the future garden.

Students from both Greens Projects in Sustainability class and Michael Gonella’s Permaculture Design class have been working on plans for what plants and designs will be included in the garden.

“Whenever we have a proposal cited to a specific part of campus, the people affected should be involved,” said journalism professor Patricia Stark, whose office is located beside the site for the garden.

At this point in time, the garden is likely to be very small—potentially only a few raised beds to see if the idea could even work. With an upcoming cafeteria remodel, the garden will have a short life span. The plans will be revisited post-remodel to see if a larger garden would be worthwhile.

“We would never want to put in something that would interfere with classes,” said Green. “It’s at an exploratory stage. We won’t do anything until we talk to everyone affected.”

Because the garden will start out small, funds needed for the project are minimal. In order to keep the garden maintained, however, money would have to be raised to hire someone to tend to the area.

“What grows best in this micro-climate is what we would want to see. I think that all the various types of culinary herbs…would be particularly great to have,” said culinary arts department chair Randall Bublitz.