Covered in dirt and in general good spirits on a Saturday morning at 10, the SU Garden Club is one happy group of gardeners. Far from being asleep in their beds, they sweat, laugh, and shovel in the dirt every week. They watch their year-long efforts come to fruition in the form of peanuts, herbs, squash, watermelons, sweet potatoes, eggplant, Japanese beans, and cantaloupe. You name it; the Garden Club is cultivating it. With approximately thirty members and growing, the club initially branched off from SEAK, Students for Environmental Activism and Knowledge. The fledgling club came fully into its own at the start of this year and is now an independent organization.
The now thriving landscape near Mundy where they work used to be a pile of trash. “They had to flatten it all out with a bulldozer,” junior Rachel Baker says, pointing to the area where members were diligently working. “It was all just a bunch of junk.”
This is the second go-around for the Garden Club on Southwestern University’s campus, having failed a few years back before any of the current members had joined. Any sign of that failure is absent now, as the hillside is covered with community gardens that are flourishing with plant life.
When asked what it was that they liked about the Garden Club, a humorous barrage of responses came flying back. “Playing in the dirt!” “Bugs!” “…I like growing things,” one member offers quietly. “And I like eating those things!” one member shouts from the back.
The work of the SU Garden club doesn’t stop at the community gardens here on campus. The club has future plans of working with the Farmer’s Market, selling what they grow in order to help fund their activities. This year the club also intends to work on projects ranging from rain water collection to satellite gardens outside of the first year dorms. They even plan on growing a grass couch – “the ultimate green furniture,” co-chair of the club Kate Peteet says laughing.
“We also intend to have a campus viewing of the movie Fresh,” Peteet adds. “It’s a documentary about the food industry. It explores how people have become unattached to the idea of their food and don’t know what goes into it. We’re missing a lot of stuff that used to keep us healthy,” she says in reference to the picking procedures of the shipping industry, which include gathering food before it has ripened in order to keep it fresh for its arrival in stores. “People just don’t know.”
The garden clubs meets every Saturday at 10am, but members are welcomed to work 8am to noon. “Come get dirty with the Garden Club,” Kate Peteet advises. “And feel free to quote me on that.”