A blog about sustainability efforts and the community garden at Williston

The Community Garden is springing to life!

Several campus residents are eager to help plant the garden in this season of covid-19. With visions of fresh tomatoes and peppers, carrots and basil, one family at a time is finding joy digging in the soil and planning for the warmer months. Thank you, Naomi Schmidt, for turning the compost bin! Norman Schmidt is working hard to prepare a bed for carrots, peas, lettuce, and strawberries! He loves to watch the plants grow and see the results of his hard work. 

Simultaneously, the perennials are poking their way through the mulched layers, all on their own. The plants of the much sought after red raspberries have emerged with fresh leaves and canes.  Perky oregano, chives and lemon balm are greening the herb bed, along with the garlic, planted last fall.  Under a school-made milk jug cloche, last year’s parsley is growing strong into its second growing season. Biennials, such as parsley set seed in their second year before ending their life cycle. Seed is hope for the future! Slow but good food is on its way!

Community Garden Update and Invitations

Featuring our new Fence
Featuring our new Fence

Check out the new feature at the Community Garden! The black chain-link fence more clearly defines the growing area and is essential for providing a safe place for growing produce. The Sustainable Life Club is taking the lead in preparing the beds for the next planting season.

Join us on Saturday (10/8), 12:30 – 1:30. Come for 5 minutes or 25 minutes. Participate in planting seedlings to grow under a low tunnel yet this fall. No experience needed!

Also check out what else is “in season”.  Cover crops of oats and field peas are coming up in the first newly raked bed. Cover crops return nutrients to the soil and protect it from erosion. They boost the organic matter which increases the microbial community surrounding the roots. These plants will grow modestly in the fall and if the winter is not too harsh, out-compete the weeds in the spring. The oat plants have deep roots which help aerate and keep the soil loose. The pea plants will increase the nitrogen levels in the soil while climbing up the oat stalks. These plants will be pulled up and composted by mid-April making the bed available for your favorite produce crops.

Inside the fenced area, peppermint plants are perky, bright green and fragrant. I am confident you can ID this one! Pick a few leaves to put in your water bottle.

Please abide by these guidelines:

Close and latch the fence gate each time you pass through. Dogs must stay outside the fenced area.

Walk between the beds, not stepping in the planting rows, to avoid compacting the prepared soil.

Lastly, enjoy the Red Raspberries that remain ready for the picking. If you have not yet tasted these gems, hustle on over for a treat. Use your senses to find ones perfectly ripe for you!

Earth Day This Wednesday the 22nd!

This Wednesday, April 22 is this year’s Earth day! To get Williston in the sustainable spirit we are planning a hike, showed the Lorax this past Sunday, and will be encouraging students to wear green on Earth day. We are also hoping to give students a way to show off their sustainable accomplishments with the hashtag #willyearthday2015. If you and your friends recycle, pick up trash or do anything else that is sustainable (like using the new water bottle filling stations on campus) you can use the hashtag and tweet it at iWilliston!

Earth Day falls on April 22 every year, and is widely considered the anniversary of the beginning of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Last year for Earth Day we had also had a hike up Mt. Tom, and did some work in the garden, let’s make this year’s Earth Day even better!

Hope you all stay green (and blue) on Earth Day!

Alex Fay

Ort Report: Week 2

This last Thursday, the 9th, we had collected and weighed our second Ort report, aside from the baseline in February. We collected 115 pounds of food waste, compared to our baseline which weighed in at around 76.5 pounds. It was also more waste than the previous week, which totaled in at 102 pounds.

Let’s try harder to cut down on leaving excess scraps by thinking about how much food we want and are able to eat. Being trayless in the dining hall helps reduce the amount of food students waste, and we aim to meet our goal to have under 50 pounds of waste. This amount was the minimum wasted from 2014, so we need to improve our habits and try again this week.

An Ort Report will be taken this Thursday, so keep your eyes peeled, and stay green!

Ort Report: Week 1

This past Thursday April 2nd, marks the first Ort Report of this trimester, after we weighed and recorded the baseline in February. Many students enthusiastically embraced the Ort report, and they proudly boasted their lack of food waste. Great job guys! This week however we weighed and recorded seven full five-gallon buckets of food waste, totaling about 102 pounds of waste total. This waste was about 25.5 pounds above our baseline. Some of the extra weight may be due to the large amount of inedible corn cobs that were left over from lunch, but we still have room for improvement.

Now that the first Ort Report of the trimester is complete, we hope that students will actively think about food waste on their mind as the weeks continue. We aim to beat our minimum waste from last year of 50 pounds. Let’s make this week’s Ort Report an anomaly and start a downward trend of food waste as the trimester continues.

Keep an eye open for the Ort report and help do your part to keep our world Green and Blue!