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Eco Garden house blossoms

August 26, 2011

The Monmouth College Educational garden and garden house on the southeast corner of campus just happens to be one of the busiest places on campus. Even though there are only six students living in the garden house, each student has learned how to become extremely self-sufficient.

The students living in the garden house are responsible for planting and growing their own food. Together the six students must work together to make it through the entire school year on what they plant themselves. With no air-conditioning and only one shower a day, each of these six students are making a conscious effort to preserve as much energy as possible. Therefore making unnecessary trips to the grocery store or eating a quick meal at McDonald’s is not an option for these students.

“We do buy some things like cheese at the grocery store,” explained sophomore Kaitlyn Pfau.

Even though they do have to buy some foods, the group is responsible for growing all their own food. The garden hold a variety of fruits and vegetables including lettuce, strawberries, zucchinis, different types of tomatoes, and several kinds of herbs.

Not only are the students learning how to keep a garden going, but they are learning how to can and preserve the food so they are able to eat in the winter. Most importantly, they are learning how to keep each other challenged and motivated.

“I have to challenge myself,” said Kyla Quigley. “I have to follow through, because if I get lazy or slack off, we don’t eat.”

The team has already produced enough food to line their kitchen cabinets and fill their deep freezer while also donating three boxes of vegetables to the college’s cafeteria.

The vegetables given to the cafeteria have already been put to use in catering events and student meals. Bruce Cvancara from ARAMARK foods explained how the efforts of the students working on the garden have already benefitted the college.

“During the initial planning we were asked to provide a list of the most used herbs and vegetables that we use in the Dining Services, so that the gardens could help fill our needs,” said Cvancara.  “We have served tomatoes, cucumbers, Swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, Chinese eggplant, and fresh basil from the gardens in our Main Dining Room and for some catering events already this fall.”

Weeding, watering, and harvesting is a lot of work that needs to be done on a daily basis, and each of the garden house’s six members decided to make the garden house and academics their main focus for the school year.

Sophomore Will Terrill said, “Our work in the garden has become a top priority for each of us.”

By not having too many outside commitments, the group realized they would have more time to work. With that, no member of the house has a cafeteria meal plan. To what most students would call a lot of work, these six students agreed that being outside in the garden everyday does not seem like work as much as it seems like living.

“It’s gratifying walking outside and seeing the things we’ve grown,” added Quigley.

The garden is prosperous, and luckily, the gardeners have reported that no droughts or bugs have ruined any crops. The group was also lucky enough to get many donations for equipment and gardening supplies.

Already the group has given grade school tours and educational seminars while also hosting an open house at the start of the school year. The team is always appreciative of donations and welcomes any student to stop by the garden for a tour or food samples.

Stevie Croisant
Staff Writer

Justin Frye/The Courier - On Monday, Aug. 22, residents of the Garden House held an open house in which they served vegetables grown from their garden. Members of the house stayed in Monmouth over the summer to tend to the garden and were given this opportunity to show off their work.

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