It’s your first week on campus and you’re attempting to navigate your way around, searching for a place to begin setting roots. The sights and sounds of ISW week are everything; yelling students, music, games and campus tours abound. You make your way across the bridge towards the environmental science complex. But wait, what’s that? Do you detect the smell of fresh basil and ripe heirloom tomatoes wafting in the air?
Unbeknownst to some there is a little piece of paradise sitting right on top of the environmental science complex. It’s not a secret per se, but you do need to have the will to find it. Up the stairs of the ERSC building to the third floor and through door B305.1, you will find yourself not in another seminar room, but at the Trent rooftop garden.
Here you will find a picturesque organic garden bursting with fresh fall veggies of all colours, shapes and sizes. In addition to those aromatic heirloom tomatoes and basil you may also find peppers, eggplants, zucchinis, melons, sweet potatoes, fresh fall greens and all varieties of root veggies ripening up for winter storage. This scenic rooftop garden is one of two garden sites run by the Trent Vegetable Gardens. The other, located behind the DNA building, is a one acre field garden also bursting with fresh produce. In these gardens there are many ways to grow roots, and not just the vegetable kind.
The gardens offer an opportunity to root yourself into the food movement by reconnecting to the source of your food, learning about ecological agriculture methods and ultimately contributing to greater food sovereignty on campus and in the Peterborough community. If you continue to follow along the path of these sustainably produced vegetables, you may find your olfactory senses being filled with fresh baked goods and sensational seasonal soups. “Corn chowder and fresh chocolate zucchini cake?” you say. “Delicious!” You have now found yourself at the infamous Seasoned Spoon Café and the destination of the Trent Vegetable Garden’s produce.
The Seasoned Spoon is a not-for-profit vegetarian cooperative café , situated in a visually striking location at Champlain College with a scenic view of the Otonabee River and a relaxing atmosphere where one can wind down from the everyday stresses of student life. You can find the Spoon open with delectable edibles of all kinds from 8:00AM -3:30PM Monday Friday while classes are in session. Of course, The Seasoned Spoon offers more than just organic, seasonal, and culinary delights. The Spoon is also an inclusive space, offering opportunities to build community, learn new skills, and engage with broader food system issues.
The Seasoned Spoon and the Trent Vegetable Gardens are unique organizations that take a hands-on approach to engaging with the entire ‘field to table’ food journey. They offer alternatives to the corporate food offerings so common to most universities. You can learn how to grow your carrot, cook your carrot and eat it, all in the company of friendly students, chefs, foodies, farmers, locavores, revolutionaries, and those who are just curious to try a quinoa salad or learn how to plant a potato.
The educational and community building mandate of both of these organizations adds that extra spice (er, I mean the icing on the cake?) that lingers in your mouth and excites you to carry your experiences forward in your life to create meaningful change. These mandates are realized through volunteer and employment opportunities, re-skilling workshops, work bees, panel discussions and partnering with the Trent Community Research Centre in community-based student research projects.
Both the Trent Vegetable Gardens and the Seasoned Spoon are always looking for eager volunteers, workshop participants, student researchers and generally anyone who wants to get involved. So please, email us, follow us on social media, visit our websites or drop by the café!
Monday – Friday starting September 10th from 8:00am – 3:30pm.