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“Those involved in these programs are hands-on,” Rogers says. “They’re not merely playing at hobbies, but real advo- cates for sustainability. It’s so much deeper than getting caught up in a ‘trend.’”


DIG AND DELVE Probably the most visible project is the 6,500-square-foot garden. Begun in 2009 near the Colton Alumni Welcome Center, the student-run garden was soon producing half a ton of organic vegetables each year for Skidmore’s dining services. In 2013–14, after soil testing, scouting, and exten- sive planning by staff and students—especially manager Margot Reisner ’14 and design draftsman Kate Brittenham ’14—the garden was moved to the Wiecking Hall green. With its central, visible location and an emphasis on all- campus inclusion, it’s been officially dubbed the Skidmore Community Garden. Starting seedlings in the Dana Science Center greenhouse


this spring, garden manager Eliza Hollister ’15 and others dug furrows, laid irrigation tubing, and built trellises for the new plot this summer. Rogers says it quickly became an “in- tergenerational hangout,” and Hollister ’15 reports that “many people walk by the garden every day, stop to chat, learn a bit about what we're doing, and offer to come vol- unteer. It’s incredibly rewarding to see people get excited about growing local food, whether they are experienced or new to gardening.” Most of its tomatoes, peas, beets, car- rots, lettuce, squash, eggplant, and other produce gets sold


to Skidmore’s dining services for use in regular meals at Murray-Aikins Dining Hall, and a student-hosted Harvest Dinner has become an autumn tradition. Students’ work with dining services has also included studying its “trayless dining,” which requires diners to carry each plate and glass to the table, resulting in significantly less unconsumed food going into the trash (plus the water and electrici- ty conservation of eliminating trays from the dish- washing stream). Even learning how


“LESSONS FROM CLASS WERE ECHOED IN GARDEN PROJECTS—FROM POLITICS AND NEGOTIATING TO ECOLOGY, FROM BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS TO DESIGN AND WRITING.”


to use a knife properly to reduce waste in food preparation supports sustainability. Such collaborations help students get a taste of healthy eating habits, recipe creation and shar- ing, and the satisfaction of breaking bread with friends. For Reisner, an environmental studies major with a focus


on food, “The Skidmore garden was the perfect emblem for my education, and a way to put what I was learning into practice. Lessons from class were echoed in garden proj- ects—from politics and negotiating to ecology, from busi- ness and economics to design and writing.” She says the garden “shines a light on food issues at a global level: by educating the community about the source of their food on campus, we hope they’ll examine their food choices within





PRECOLLEGE STUDENTS USE GARDEN WORK FOR A SERVICE-LEARNING COMPONENT IN THEIR SUMMER PROGRAM ON CAMPUS.


FALL 2014 SCOPE 17


ERIC JENKS ’08


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