If you eat vegetables from the Cosgrove cafeteria, chances are you’re eating produce home-grown by the environmental student group on campus, GreenLife.
They deliver an average of ten pounds of produce a week, all harvested from their garden on the grounds of St. Vincent’s church, just a short walk from campus.
“We’re growing gorgeous tomatoes, green peppers, zucchini, basil, lots of different classic Iowa summer garden food,” said GreenLife advisor Dr. Amy Blair. “And so when you’re at the cafeteria you have the opportunity to have local homegrown veggies right from campus here which is really exciting.”
One of several cherry tomato plants, all in various states of ripeness. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Graham.
“This summer we had students, faculty, and staff who took turns watering and caring for the garden,” Dr. Blair said. “Now that it’s the end of the summer, we’re finally seeing fantastic yields of our produce.”
The garden is doing so well that GreenLife also hosted a community potluck, during which student members, faculty, and staff all enjoyed homemade food made from only locally grown vegetables.
All dishes at the potluck featured locally grown vegetables. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Graham.
“I think that it is very important for SAU students to have access to homegrown vegetables because it allows them to have a better appreciation of where the produce they eat comes from,” said GreenLife member Jena Mogenis. “It is a very important educational tool to teach students about sustainability; it shows them that they can take action by making small changes in their lives to become more sustainable, like starting their own at-home garden.”
The desire for SAU students to take this experience of getting to eat homegrown vegetables at school and turn it into something more is seemingly shared by many GreenLife members.
“I believe it is important that SAU students have access to homegrown vegetables because we know the complete origin story of this food and that is something that is often lacking in today’s food industry,” said GreenLife member Julia Bancroft. “It is amazing to get to look at your plate and know the plot of land that was used to grow what’s there.”
In the future, many members of the club hope to be able to supply all of the vegetables in the Cosgrove cafeteria in an effort to make SAU a more self-sustaining and environmentally friendly place to live.