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Sustainability students plant seeds for new semester

Hands planting succulents in a container
September 25, 2018

Sustainability students are growing into the new semester … along with a new crop of vegetables in their revamped community garden.

Students of all grade levels gathered in the S-cluster community area of the Adelphi II dorms in Tempe on Friday to reclaim their community garden after being away while the Adelphi Complex was shut down for renovation.

Maddie Mercer, a junior who is majoring in sustainability and psychology said that they were preparing for the new season of crops.

“We are on the cusp of a new growing season so we are just cleaning everything up,” Mercer said. “It is a great element to have in your own dorm, to have a space to grow vegetables.”

But the garden is about so much more than growing plants, according to Yaritza Hernandez, a sophomore double-majoring in sustainability and innovation in society.

“I think it is great for the incoming freshmen to have our garden that we didn’t have last year. I think it is just nice to garden; it’s a nice way to spend my Friday,” Hernandez said. “Everybody gets to meet each other, and it is just a way for the freshmen to meet the upperclassmen. I think it is definitely a form of community.”

For some of the students, like sustainability freshman Isabella Ledo, the community gardening experience was a first.

“It is definitely important to my experience, especially because I never got to garden like this with a community before …  it’s kind of cool to get to be a part of it for once,” Ledo said. “Especially since it’s something I’ve always wanted to do — garden.”

And for others, it was a chance to connect a familiar activity with a new group of people, like Sami Hollinshead, who is also a freshman studying sustainability.

“I’ve always gardened with my family — we had a big garden in our house since I was a kid — so it’s just another way for me to take that experience and transfer it to ASU, and meet different people and meet the upperclassmen and get to know them,” Hollinshead said. “Everyone should take part in gardening … it’s a way to have fun, and relieve stress, and help the environment, and we get to grow food, which is super fun.”

The garden will be available to anyone in the dorm who wants to eat the food, which will include lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, peppers, jalapeños, kale, a fig tree and edible flowers.

Leading the charge in planting the garden was School of Sustainability paraprofessional Jacquie Shea, a sophomore double-majoring in Spanish and sustainability.

“My vision is that my residents will be able to take things to eat because right now all they really have growing is basil and some sweet potatoes, but nothing else that they can really just eat,” she said. “I am hoping that a lot of the stuff that they can just pull and eat once it’s in season.”

Alexandra Neumann, a sophomore double majoring in sustainability and conservation biology, said that this group activity was reflective of the School of Sustainability’s commitment to live what they learn and what they teach.

“The School of Sustainability is really good about building community through doing things that relate to what we are studying,” Neumann said.  “And gardening is one of the best ways to build communities, so that is why I am here, to meet new people and to grow some food.”

Top photo: Residents of the Sustainability Cluster at Adelphi spread soil in their community garden. The vegetables harvested from this garden are used by students living in the Sustainability Cluster to prepare meals for themselves throughout the year. Photo by Marcus Chormicle/ASU Now

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