It’s your first week on the Trent University campus and you are attempting to navigate your way around, searching for a place to begin setting roots.
The sights and sounds of ISW week are all around; 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. 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 your nose 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.
This not-for-profit vegetarian cooperative café is also 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 (see across the page for even more info on the Spoon).
Of course, The Seasoned Spoon offers more than just organic, seasonal culinary delights. It offers an opportunity 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 together take a hands-on approach to engaging with the entire ‘field to table’ food journey and offer alternatives to the corporatist institutional food offerings so common to most universities.
In this way you can learn how to grow your carrot, cook your carrot, and eat it too (we also have cake if you prefer), 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.
This is realized through volunteer and employment opportunities, re-skilling workshops, panel discussions and partnering with the Trent Centre for Community Based Education (TCCBE) for student research projects.
The Trent Vegetable Gardens are always looking for eager volunteers, workshop participants, student researchers, and generally anyone who wants to get involved.
So please, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow us on social media ( https://www.facebook.com/TrentVegetableGardens or @TrentGarden on Twitter), or visit our website (trentgardens.org).
And, of course, you can always drop by the café or gardens starting Sept 4 Monday to Friday, 8 am to 3:30 pm while classes are in session.