Campus Sustainability Club works to decrease food waste and increase student involvement

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Spring is just around the corner and with warmer temperatures approaching, the Boise State Sustainability Club’s community garden will soon be back in business. Located at 1415 S. Juanita St., the garden will be welcoming a variety of new plants, seedlings and animals to enhance the garden’s growth.

Haley Neill is graduating from Boise State and will be stepping down from the garden manager position after this semester. She will be handing the position to Megan Hill, a sophomore environmental studies major with a triple minor in business, sustainability and Spanish who shares a similar passion for sustainable living.

“The mission of our Boise State community garden is to expose students to the work, energy and organization required to cultivate organic produce while combating food insecurity on campus,” Neill said. “We aim to instill an appreciation for the craft of gardening.”

Hill has been a part of the Sustainability Club for two years now and interns with the sustainability department and the sustainability committee with Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU). With her expertise in sustainability, Hill holds the responsibility of maintaining the basic needs of the garden while also managing the seeds and other resources needed for a successful spring season.

Hill will also be working with members of the Sustainability Club and service-learning students to help them become more involved with improving the garden.

“The garden is a huge learning tool, teaching service-learning students and young kids what it’s like to grow and harvest and care for our food,” Hill said.

In addition to growing and harvesting crops, Hill is working on developing a large project which involves the introduction of chickens to the garden for the 2020-2021 school year.

“The goal will be to have fresh eggs for members of our club and for food-insecure members of our BSU community to have without question, in addition to the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables,” Hill said.

With these new developments, Hill hopes to start off the new school year by creating an infrastructure similar to Neill’s in order for students and faculty to gain access to fresh fruits and vegetables – and eventually eggs – at their leisure.

This project will serve as a trial run in order to investigate how the chickens’ presence will influence and affect student’s lives on campus.
“In order to help combat food insecurity on campus, we host open hours for students and faculty to come harvest, learn and get involved,” Neill said. “All produce grown by the garden is free[…], we just ask that people are respectful of the area.”

The Sustainability Club hosts biweekly meetings at the garden, addressing everything from the club itself to the upkeep of the garden. The Sustainability Club community garden also runs OrgSync, Facebook and Instagram pages to share updates and information regarding how to get involved.

Students and faculty are able to get in contact with the newly elected co-presidents Arie Weidemaier and Katie Hansen through the Sustainability Club’s OrgSync page to address any questions concerning the garden.

Hill’s passion for sustainability education continues to grow with the garden’s development. She wishes to spread the importance of gardening and how it contributes to food security for the Boise State campus as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.

“Our club and department are also trying to form a closer bond with events and involvement across campus,” Hill said. “We love our sustainability family so much and we would adore any new additions to it; any and all are welcome to join the club and help with the garden at any time.”

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