In the past few weeks, we have not been as active in the garden because of the time of year and weather conditions. Our radishes are still in the process of growing and are not quite ready to be harvested. The boxes behind Hodson are ready for the planting of garlic, and that is our task for next week, along with the completion of the 2 unfinished cold frames in the garden.
In the meantime, we have been reading The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan and watching informational videos such as How to Save the World, Dirt, and Food Production Systems for a Backyard or Small Farm. We have taken away from the videos and book some useful information, however much of the information cannot be directly related to the garden because our campus garden is so small scale.
We learned about the importance of dirt and the nutrients that make plants able flourish in the environment. Pesticides can be extremely harmful to plants and ecosystems, which is why the process of permaculture is so important. Permaculture allows for the environment to be sustainable in the future. A few ways we can keep the soil rich is by keeping the nutrients moist and contained within the soil by using hay to cover beds of plants. We can use compost material and manure to give the garden a head start with initial healthy, nutrient dense soil.
From Michael Pollan’s book, we learned a great deal about organics and what that word truly means. We were shocked to find out that everything that claims to be an “organic food” might actually not be. A majority of the time, organic refers to the ingredients that go into making the product, rather than the product in general. For example–chickens. Chicken breasts in the grocery store may say “free-range, organic”. In reality, the chickens are kept in a coop with hundreds of other chickens. The only thing that makes them organic is what the farmers feed these particular chickens. The only thing that makes them free-range is their ability to go outside during certain hours of the day. With just this example, it is easy to see that the consumers are tricked into believing that many products are healthier than non-organic foods.
Organic foods are a marketing strategy rather than a health trend and companies thrive on this idea. The marketers know that consumers believe organic foods to be healthier and better for them and the environment. Because of this, the marketer does everything in their power to make everyday food appear to be “organic”.
Even though the book doesn’t relate directly to the campus garden, it is beneficial to look at different topics to see what is happening with the world around us. We will be watching more movies and reading articles throughout the remainder of the year that relate more directly to our garden. Thank you for your interest in the garden and we will post our progress with the boxes and garlic next week!!