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Volunteers needed for campus garden projects

September 01, 2011

When the calendar page is turned to September, it’s time to start to think about soil, plants and harvests.

Facilities Management at Arizona State University is gearing up for its fall programs on the Tempe campus, which is an arboretum, and needs volunteers who love to work in flower beds, pack dates and pick olives.

During the month of September, volunteers are needed to work in the Herb Garden and Secret Garden, both on the Tempe campus, said Deborah Thirkhill, program coordinator.

Those interested in the Herb Garden should meet at 8 a.m. Wednesday mornings at the picnic benches on the north side of the Student Services Building (east of Forest Avenue and Gammage Parkway), on the Tempe campus.

Volunteers for the Secret Garden should meet at 8 a.m., Friday mornings, in the Dixie Gammage courtyard, to prepare flower beds. Volunteers can stay as long as they wish, Thirkhill said.

Other upcoming events, open to the public, include:

• Farmers Market, every other Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., beginning Sept. 27, on the Tempe campus, west of the Memorial Union fountain on Orange Mall. The Arboretum will sell boxed campus harvest dates at the Farmers Market Oct. 11.

• Campus harvest date packing, Tempe campus. Volunteers are needed every Thursday, Friday and Saturday Oct. 6-29. Volunteers will receive a bag of campus dates.

• Second annual Date Festival, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Nov. 5, ASU’s Polytechnic campus. Enjoy rare varieties of dates fresh off the palm tree, date foods, Moroccan style entertainment, tours and lectures. Free.

• Olive harvest, 9 a.m. to noon, Nov. 19, Tempe campus. Pick a bucket of olives on campus. If you wish to have the olives pressed for oil, the Queen Creek Olive Mill allows individuals or groups to bring a minimum of 300 pounds of olive to be pressed, with the mill keeping half. Anyone interested in this option should call Christ Martin at the Olive Mill, (480) 888-9290 (press 7).

On Nov. 19, learn how to process green or black olives to eat. Guest speakers at ASU on Nov. 19 will be David Lawver, “Urban Harvesting,” and Rigoberto Polanco, “Curing Olives.”

For more information about volunteering or the events, contact Deborah Thirkhill, (480) 268-4165, or go to