AASHE Bulletin Sustainability Student Diary Series: Southern Illinois U Carbondale
Welcome to the inaugural AASHE Bulletin Sustainability Student Diary post! This is the first of a series of diary entries from higher education students in the U.S. and Canada who will share what it’s like in the trenches of a campus sustainability initiative. This entry features the writings of Laura Williams, a geography senior at Southern Illinois University Carbondale who manages the student-led campus organic garden. The following are excerpts from her blog (in descending order with most recent first) that chronicles the weekly activities of the Local Organic Gardening Initiative of Carbondale (LOGIC). AASHE welcomes questions and invites feedback on each Sustainability Student Diary entry. Submit diary entries of your own for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to the sun!
November 4, 2010
This week and last were good ones for LOGIC. We had 10 volunteers, our biggest number yet, out last Sunday to spread compost and get the beds in the hoop house ready to be planted. It was really nice to see enthusiasm about the project and watch everyone work together. Last night we were able to begin planting the first seeds in the hoop house. We also had an article written in the daily newspaper for our university about what we are doing and hope to do. This coming Monday we will be sitting in Lentz Dining Hall during dinner to try and spread the word as well. A couple of weeks ago there was a green fair in which many clubs, organizations, and departments around campus and the community came and set up booths to offer information about different things they were doing. We had a table, and it was really fun to be able to talk to a lot of people and to see the variety of organizations and their booths.
I think this is a very promising project and hope that many students will be able to use the space for socialization, stress relief and a general feeling of community. I think this garden can not only provide a resource like local, organic food but can also serve as a much needed resource for students to learn experientially about sustainability and connect with each other and the earth. I believe these are some of the biggest issues we need to address if we hope to make the changes necessary for a sustainable campus and world.
Past, Present, Future
October 16, 2010
So I thought I would take this opportunity to say a few words about LOGIC’s beginning before we enter into a new realm with this project. The garden was a collaboration of thought from students in the geography department and other environmental organizations around campus. Worried about the state of agriculture in our state of Illinois, the students took it upon themselves to garner the support to get a plot of land and begin an organic garden with the aim of producing food for the dining halls. Situated at the Vermicomposting Building, the garden’s goal is to close the loop on the campus food supply by producing food that is nourished by the compost created by the waste products from the same dining halls the food goes to and water collected from a rainwater catchment system.
Although the production capacities of the garden are small, because of the initiative the pioneers of the project had, we now have a hoop house that is ready to be planted in. The students wrote a grant and a hoop house was installed that will allow us to extend our growing season and grow greens and herbs for the dining halls during the winter.
The effects of this project have stimulated a growing appreciation for organic practices and food production around campus. The Agriculture Department has tilled up an acre behind the hoop house to grow more vegetables for the dining halls and has the goal of getting the acre certified organic. Another class is in the works of creating a master plan for the sustainable landscaping of the surrounding area, incorporating food with landscaping plants and pathways. The site at the Vermicomposting Building has the goal of becoming a sustainability showcase, with many different aspects involving energy production, food and rainwater catchment.
In light of beginning down the path that the students before us so carefully crafted, I must give my utmost gratitude and respect for their vision and ability to pull it off. Thank you to them, and good luck to us.
Planting in the hoop house begins next week.
It’s here :)
September 29, 2010
Fall is here and the weather is finally something that can be enjoyed, in my opinion. The plants are coming up and loving the cooler weather I’m sure.
The hoop house has yet to be tilled, but next week I will get the ball rolling on that. It is going to be a project getting the plan together, the beds measured, compost spread, and then tilled up. It is going to be a great space in there and we are going to be able to grow a lot. I have been reading a lot about the crops we are going to grow, so I hope that with a little background knowledge and a keen eye for observation the plants will do well. We also now have a water hookup outside so we are going to be able to install drip irrigation, which will be a huge time saver and water saver as well. The rainwater catchment system is working well for our water uses, but it needs to rain to fill it back up. Send some good thoughts out for that one.
September 18, 2010
Today was a big day for LOGIC. We have seeds, row cover, tools, and the first fall plants have been planted. Chef Bill gave us our beets, carrots, lettuce and spinach seeds. Then he and I went to Rural King and bought shovels, hoes, potato forks, weeding tools, rakes and a couple other things. Then we had our first volunteers come out. There were four lovely people who showed up and we planted beets and carrots in the front beds. The hoop house is coming along. The poor guys working on it had to put it together piece by piece. They’re working hard to get it together. With any luck we’ll be able to put all their hard work to good use.
I have cleaned out a corner in the Vermicomposting Building so that we have a space. We have what we need to make this a great season. I am excited and very hopeful.
and the rain came
September 10, 2010
So, the seeds are coming in soon and the hoop house should be up soon as well. That is exciting. All of this planning will start to become a reality. I have been thinking about ideas of how to “market” the garden lately and thought that I would make a nice sign and print up some informational brochures so we can set up a table in Lentz dining hall in the future and talk to people about the garden. That is going to be a work in progress though because right now there is not that much to say nor write about. But that will be changing. Lots of stuff to do this week as far as getting things ready to plant and be organized. I’ll write more about it later.
We finally got some rain from the remnants of a hurricane. And the trees are beginning to make their change. I noticed the first red one today. Fall is so lovely.
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