UofL’s sustainability office is helping students savor the harvest season with a series of workshops at the Garden Commons.
Students gathered at the garden behind the Cultural Center on Sept. 2 to pick herbs that had come into season and learn how to harvest and store them. They then enjoyed fresh bruschetta seasoned with the basil and thyme crop, washing it down with teas made from wild plants like dandelion and stinging nettle.
“Our goal is to connect students directly with local foods they can grow right here on campus,” said Justin Mog, assistant provost for sustainability initiatives, who led the workshop. Besides herbs, students can visit the garden for tomatoes, greens, berries, radishes and more.
The garden was first planted in 2010. As it matured and expanded from a few beds to more than a dozen, Sustainability began using it as a venue for workshops on organic gardening techniques. Five years on, the garden now produces enough that the workshops can focus on turning the harvest into nutritious meals.
The Health Promotion office helps accomplish this goal, using the workshops to provide students with simple recipes they can use incorporate more natural foods into their diet.
“We hope to get more students involved with the garden and spread the word about some of our programs as well,” explained student volunteer and Nutrition Navigator Cristi Smith, who helped conduct the workshop. “We’re excited for people to get hands-on experience with real food.”
The Garden Commons is open year-round for everyone to pick fruits, veggies and herbs, and to plant their own seeds if they wish.