Small Garden, Big Picture
First, we would like to thank Mrs. Susan Brennan for the donation of Lemon Balm, Oregano, Parsley and Marjoram! Our goal is to have them planted in cold frames within the next week of two so they can survive through the winter.
Over this past weekend, we took a trip to Dickinson College and Gettysburg College. We took tours of their gardens, or farms rather, so that we could get a better idea of where we want the garden to take off within the next few years.
Dickinson alone was absolutely inspiring. They began with a small garden 14 years ago, just like ours. They have now expanded to an off campus farm, encompassing 187 acres of land! They moved to the off campus farm in 2007 and in the past 7 years they have added greenhouses, an outstanding composting system, livestock, a packaging facility, campus activities and classes, solar energy panels, a biodiesel fuel system and many more developments.
Jenn Halpin, the Farm Manager and Director at Dickinson College, taught us that you do not need to have a large farm to make a difference. The only thing you need is a group of people who care and that share similar interests. They are big into reaching out to community resources and building connections with local farmers and companies that are willing to donate certain supplies and materials to their farm at their convenience.
Our tour of Gettysburg was very helpful as well because they are more small scale and much easier to relate to. Their farm, The Painted Turtle Farm, allowed us to see a more realistic approach of how we can transform our garden in just this year alone into something magnificent. Their main focus is on campus involvement, which we were easily able to relate to. They also are involved with the outside community by giving low-income families a bed of land to grow what they choose and in turn it benefits the farm.
Another idea that Gettysburg College had for their farm was through the use of hugelkultur. Through this technique, they take advantage of logs and sticks to provide natural carbon to the soil, allowing for the plants to thrive. This is an easy and smart approach to growing plants that we may consider looking into for the future.
From these two tours, we were inspired to look into starting our very own Garden Club, where students with a specific interest with helping to benefit the garden and contributing to the dining hall can come out and help! Ultimately, by visiting these colleges, we are able to have a better idea how to map out our long-term and short-term goals for the garden. We also have found a sense of relief and encouragement knowing that both colleges started with a garden just as small as ours and have turned them into amazing projects!
Next weekend, during the Fall Family Festival, we will have an information table set up for the Campus Garden. There will be information on things we have done thus far and ways that you can get involved! We are also going to be in the cardboard boat race as “Lettuce Turnip the Beet”, so come and cheer us on and support your Campus Garden!