Peterson said lettuce, spinach, zucchini, squash, basil and eggplants are grown in the garden. (STONY BROOK OFFICE OF SUSTAINABILITY)
Peterson said lettuce, spinach, zucchini, squash, basil and eggplants are grown in the garden. (STONY BROOK OFFICE OF SUSTAINABILITY)

Stony Brook’s organic garden is closed for the season, but plans are already underway to reopen and expand it in 2014.

Student EcoLeaders worked with the Office of Sustainability over the summer to construct the garden, where they grew vegetables used in soups at the Student Activities Center’s food court. Director of Sustainability James O’Connor said that while the approaching winter has temporarily closed the project, work will continue between students and the department.

“We do have aspirations without a doubt to accelerate the organic garden in the early spring,” O’Connor said. “We’ve ratcheted down on the growth only because of the season—we’ll soon be in late October.”

“But we have aspirations to continue. We still have students involved and will have them involved in the greenhouse, which is located next to the organic garden,” he said.

The garden is located near the Research and Development Park Greenhouse and has worked to increase campus sustainability through local materials and lowering carbon-emissions linked to food transportation.

Ecosystems and human impact major Séamus Peterson is one of the EcoLeaders the who operates the garden as a planting assistant. He stressed how much of the construction relied on locally planted, bought or found materials, and highlighted the use of dead trees left over from Hurricane Sandy as compost.

“We dug up the site next to the greenhouse and raised thirteen beds, roughly eight-by-three feet. From there we used campus compost and some sterile soil the school had bought,” Peterson said. “The mulch is local. Stony Brook made it through wood waste they collected around campus. Especially after Sandy, when all the trees fell out.”

The garden’s proximity to the vegetables’ destination ensured that transportation related carbon-emissions were kept to a minimum and the vegetables themselves remained fresh.

“A week after the plants really developed we would make deliveries to the SAC and to the kitchen, and bring roughly ten to fifteen pounds of veggies,” Peterson said. “We got plants from a local place and grew roughly ten different types of veggies herbs and that sort of thing.”

According to the Sustainability website, the garden grew lettuce, spinach, zucchini, squash, string beans, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and cilantro—“The classic variety,” Peterson added.

University advocates of sustainability, including President of the Environmental Club Sheri Bossong, welcomed the project.

“The organic garden is great, and a fantastic way to make Stony Brook sustainable,” Bossong said. “Locally grown food is important for keeping our carbon footprint down, and ‘home grown’ food always tastes better.”

As to the future of the garden, O’Connor said that students would contribute to planning the reopening, which will hopefully expand to alternating vegetable growth.

“The products that we received from the garden were pretty remarkable, they were large in size and were used in the dining halls,” O’Connor said. “So what we would like to do is take that model, where we’re able to grow certain products in certain months.”

Peterson is likewise optimistic and said that “after the success of this year, the people above me are very interested in expanding it.”

“The plan is to expand it hopefully next year, but that’s still in the early stages of planning,” Peterson said. “I think it’s important to realize how feasible it is to do this on campus, and we can take a lot more advantage of this kind of procedure.”

Stony Brook’s organic garden is closed for the season, but plans are already underway to reopen and expand it in 2014.

Student EcoLeaders worked with the Office of Sustainability over the summer to construct the garden, where they grew vegetables used in soups at the Student Activities Center’s food court. Director of Sustainability James O’Connor said that while the approaching winter has temporarily closed the project, work will continue between students and the department.

“We do have aspirations without a doubt to accelerate the organic garden in the early spring,” O’Connor said. “We’ve ratcheted down on the growth only because of the season—we’ll soon be in late October.”

“But we have aspirations to continue. We still have students involved and will have them involved in the greenhouse, which is located next to the organic garden,” he said.

The garden is located near the Research and Development Park Greenhouse and has worked to increase campus sustainability through local materials and lowering carbon-emissions linked to food transportation.

Ecosystems and human impact major Séamus Peterson is one of the EcoLeaders the who operates the garden as a planting assistant. He stressed how much of the construction relied on locally planted, bought or found materials, and highlighted the use of dead trees left over from Hurricane Sandy as compost.

“We dug up the site next to the greenhouse and raised thirteen beds, roughly eight-by-three feet. From there we used campus compost and some sterile soil the school had bought,” Peterson said. “The mulch is local. Stony Brook made it through wood waste they collected around campus. Especially after Sandy, when all the trees fell out.”

The garden’s proximity to the vegetables’ destination ensured that transportation related carbon-emissions were kept to a minimum and the vegetables themselves remained fresh.

“A week after the plants really developed we would make deliveries to the SAC and to the kitchen, and bring roughly ten to fifteen pounds of veggies,” Peterson said. “We got plants from a local place and grew roughly ten different types of veggies herbs and that sort of thing.”

According to the Sustainability website, the garden grew lettuce, spinach, zucchini, squash, string beans, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and cilantro—“The classic variety,” Peterson added.

University advocates of sustainability, including President of the Environmental Club Sheri Bossong, welcomed the project.

“The organic garden is great, and a fantastic way to make Stony Brook sustainable,” Bossong said. “Locally grown food is important for keeping our carbon footprint down, and ‘home grown’ food always tastes better.”

As to the future of the garden, O’Connor said that students would contribute to planning the reopening, which will hopefully expand to alternating vegetable growth.

“The products that we received from the garden were pretty remarkable, they were large in size and were used in the dining halls,” O’Connor said. “So what we would like to do is take that model, where we’re able to grow certain products in certain months.”

Peterson is likewise optimistic and said that “after the success of this year, the people above me are very interested in expanding it.”

“The plan is to expand it hopefully next year, but that’s still in the early stages of planning,” Peterson said. “I think it’s important to realize how feasible it is to do this on campus, and we can take a lot more advantage of this kind of procedure.”

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