Post Classifieds

Class plants sustainable garden

By Erin Doniger
On October 20, 2009

The official Brandeis Patchwork Garden, organized by Prof. Laura Goldin's (AMST) "Greening the Ivory Tower" class, broke ground on Sunday. The rain took a toll on the expected student attendance but didn't halt the progress. The garden aims to improve sustainability at the University and in the greater community, class member Sarit Luban '11 said in an interview with the Justice before the event.

"Long-term, we really want to branch out to as much of the community as we can. . Hopefully there will be ways for us to have partnerships with Aramark and sell food to [Cholmondeley's in the future]. For now, we are planning on it just being a co-op system," Luban said.

The project started Sunday with the planting of Swiss chard, lettuce, raspberries, blackberries, black raspberries and Nanking cherries. More bushes and strawberry plants have been donated and are on their way for spring, said class member Ellen Abramowitz '11.

"We will have hazel nut bushes and strawberry plants donated later this season for the spring by Beth Lowe, a local landscape architect and permaculture specialist," Abramowitz wrote in an e-mail to the Justice. The garden also makes use of dining hall composite waste from an earlier greening class project, Luban said.

Although the Student Union Senate rejected an Emergency Senate Money Resolution of $445 brought by the Dining Services Committee at the Oct. 11 Senate meeting, the garden ultimately received some funding from the Natural Living Club and the Union Finance Board to help move the project along.

Student Union Treasurer Daniel Acheampong '11 wrote in an e-mail to the Justice, "The Finance Board decided to help the initiative because the project is sustainable and beneficial for the Brandeis community. It does not only support Brandeis' mission to move towards a more eco-friendly environment, but it also educates students on ways to maintain the beauty of this campus. Thus, after we analyzed the request, we granted the club $600 in a general grant to execute the initiative."

Goldin said in a phone interview with the Justice that she doesn't expect any additional significant expenses once the garden is built; the initial costs of cold frames, railroad ties and construction of the beds have been covered.

Assuming the garden does well, her planned summer Justice Brandeis Semester "Environmental Health and Justice" students will help keep the garden going this summer. The students may work in partnership with Healthy Waltham, which helps Waltham youth and families improve health status, and might bring in Waltham youth to "work alongside us as we tend the garden," Goldin said in the phone interview.

Regarding future Garden projects, Abramowitz said, "We still have fencing materials we want to put up and there are some other things we want to do, so maybe we will try again to have another outside event even though the weather is getting colder. ...We might have some indoor events too, maybe a first picking chard festival."

-Anya Bergman contributed reporting

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