A Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student acknowledges that it may be easier to grab a bag of chips as a snack than to wait for broccoli to grow in a garden.
“But putting in the work is so worth it,” said Melissa Hillman, a senior majoring in biology sciences: ecology, evolution and environment. “And fresh vegetables are so much better for you.”
Hillman is one of several people in the student sustainability group, Natural Connections, who helped start a garden on land and with tools and materials provided by The Gardens at SIUE.
“Natural Connections wants to help reconnect people with their food,” said Wolf-Mark Veverka, president. The student group started the garden in April and now has vegetables and herbs planted in six of the nine beds they built.
“It’s all done by students and is for the sake of benefiting students and their families,” said Veverka, a senior also majoring in biological sciences: ecology, evolution and environment. “And we couldn’t have done any of it without the help of Don Mueller and The Gardens at SIUE.”
After weeks of work, some “fruit” of all the students’ labor is starting to bud.
“We’re harvesting some radishes and peas today,” said Natural Connections vice president Jessica Urbonas, who was raised on farm. Urbonas is also studying biological sciences with the emphasis on ecology, evolution and environment. Urbonas grew up learning about and loving to garden.
Hillman, however, did not like to get her hands dirty when she was younger, though she liked eating fresh foods. Things have changed. She enjoys gardening and sharing the experience with her 7-year-old son Thomas. The single mother is also grateful to have a place to garden.
“Gardening builds an appreciation for food. These skills will benefit him all his life,” Hillman said. “I’ve always fed my son vegetables and fresh food. He loves to munch on tomatoes as a snack and enjoys fresh broccoli and spinach.
“My son spent a lot of time with me out here in the garden pulling out the weeds,” Hillman said. “When he gets to eat the tomatoes, he will be so grateful he did the work.”
Some other vegetables and herbs currently planted in the garden include: bell peppers, yellow squash, snap peas, kale, cabbage, basil, dill and chive.
Students can help in the garden during the summer hours that Natural Connection members are working: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays. Those students who help cultivate and work the garden are free to partake of the food, Veverka said.
For more information, contact email@example.com. Additional information can be found at The Gardens at SIUE.
This article is from http://www.siue.edu/.