Over the last 15 years or so, the Trent Vegetable Gardens have come a long way. From green roofs to experimental roof top gardens, Trent has been one of the first universities to incorporate these alternative designs into its buildings. Research done by Tom Hutchinson regarding ozone’s effect on crops led to the current rooftop vegetable garden situated on top of the environmental science building (ERSC). Each year our gardens yield a different outcome based on weather, the volunteer base and the vision of the co-ordinators. This year for example, at the field garden we were able to clear a large portion of the land to grow storage crops for the new root cellar being built at Champlain College. The food we grow goes to the local student-driven vegetarian cafe called The Seasoned Spoon and overflow goes to not for profit organizations like Food Not Bombs and of course to our volunteers.
Students are drawn to Trent for its environmentally driven ideals, its natural and wild campus, its athletics and trails. What most students might not know however, is that Trent University has the potential to become a forerunner in developing a low impact perpetual food system growing from seed to plate to compost and back again. With the evolution of the new Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program, the chance to make change on a local and global level increases as ideas, methods and experiments are researched and developed right here at Trent. The Trent Vegetable Gardens (TVG) are dedicated not only to food sustainability, but to bringing a free, hands-on education to anyone interested. TVG has been facilitating workshops where you can learn different ways of producing food on a do-it-yourself basis, small scale gardening, and large production farming. By teaching these methods, we can make quality food accessible to communities, while at the same time decreasing the cost of food to the individual.
For those who want to start large scale farming, we also teach workshops on market gardens, CSAs, or permaculture gardens. On September 25th at 5pm in B305 on the Third Floor of the ERSC building, Travis Phelp of Greenshire Eco Farms will be lecturing about a No Till – Low Till method of farming with emphasis on preparing beds. This is a great opportunity to draw from Travis’ experiences and knowledge base in this field… dig it? The gardens’ functioning is dependant on volunteers and helpers who dedicate their time and effort to tasks like putting up posters around town, harvesting, weeding, and preparing garden beds for winter. So come to the gardens and ask questions, get a tour, or lend a hand: firstname.lastname@example.org.