Boston College, MA Sustainability Garden

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Boston College, MA, US

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Type: Program

Status: Established in 2008

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The student environmental group, Ecopledge, is starting an organic garden in a yard on the Brighton Campus. The plot will grow everything from tomatoes, peppers, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, to basil and chives.

The garden provides recreational and educational activities for students and faculty of Boston College as well as the local community. It is a place for people to gather and work on a fun project together outside in the sun. Once further established, groups of students from Newton’s local schools/summer camps, as well as Boston College’s Campus School will be welcomed and encouraged to take educational fieldtrips to the garden to learn about sustainable agriculture, how to garden, and the benefits of eating local. These trips have the potential to be led by students of the Lynch school and/or interested volunteers.

Furthermore, as a Jesuit school that often quotes the phrase “Men and Women for others,” the garden is also an outlet of service. That is, while other schools usually sell the majority of their produce back to the dining hall, because of the smaller scale of our plot, the idea is to donate this produce to local food shelters and host free community dinners/lunches over the summer months.

Finally, with the coming expansion of the Environmental Studies minor into a major, Ecopledge hopes the garden can be incorporated into curriculum and be utilized as a research tool for the Biology, Geology, Chemistry and other interested departments.

Food and Politics, a new course to be taught in the Fall of 2008 by Dr. Starr, also has interest in using the garden as part of its curriculum. Dr. Starr comments on the importance of returning to gardening in our increasingly globalized society:

"Fortunately, we will have a next generation of farmers. Not because they are inheriting land and wealthy enterprises. Not because government policy encourages the maintenance of American traditions of husbandry, land stewardship, and frugal entrepreneurship. Not because there's any money in it. But because a generation of young people wants meaningful work, and they want to heal the earth, our relationships, and our economy. And they see these things are related. They are clamoring to learn farming, real farming, the kind you do by knowing nature, knowing a piece of land, and producing in a context of community. The big ag schools, with textbooks full of fertilizer formulas, are aghast. The grand universities who thought farming was out-of-date are scrambling to build interdisciplinary knowledge about food's origins and meanings. And students, desperate for hands-on skills, are building scrappy gardens at their stately universities, vegetable gardens that light the way to a newly respectable career and industry."