Earth Day: Garden Party Promotes Sustaining Campus

Person Watering Plants in Garden

Nestled between Wildwood Hall and the FSU Circus, the Seminole Organic Garden thrives, offering students a quiet, green place away from the bustle of the rest of campus. Overseen by FSU’s Sustainable Campus, the garden consists of twelve beds lined with stone that are individually cared for by a dozen university organizations such as the Environmental Service Program and the Ethical Food Association.

On April 21, Sustainable Campus hosted the 2nd Annual Garden Party to highlight the fantastic work of the volunteers on the garden as well as local organizations like Ripe City. The party also provided free food, information on growing your own veggies and even a friendly chicken that meandered through the garden beds. The event appropriately shined a light on living sustainably, even as a college student.

Louie Castillo, the former Garden Master of the ESP bed, says that Earth Day is a lot like Mother’s Day.

“Because you should love your mother year-round, but you need that one special day to poke you and remind you to show her how much you love her,” Castillo explained.

Castillo also led a talk at the party alongside Scott Davis, a local aficionado of native plants, on the aesthetic of wild garden beds while holding the aforementioned guest chicken in his arms.

If you have been at FSU for a while, you may have noticed the organic garden growing from a small plot to a sprawling maze of greenery. For this, you can thank people like Melanie Marques, the official Garden Master employed by Sustainable Campus. She describes herself as the “point person” for the volunteers of the garden because she is the one who they come to with questions and it is her job to provide new seeds and make sure the current beds are being well taken care of.

Of the annual garden party, Marques says, “It’s a way for us to have fun, eat good food, and collaborate.”

During the event, Melanie welcomed all passersby to join the party and take as much as they wished. This friendly, inviting attitude is one that translates into her everyday life where she aims to educate her neighbors about gardening.

Right now, only student organizations take care of the garden beds on campus, but her goal is to expand so that individuals and independent groups can rent plots to grow food.

“Growing your own food is one of the best ways to achieve personal sustainability,” Marques says.

Tending to a garden can be time consuming and many students do not have time for such a commitment, but there are countless other ways to live more sustainably as a college student.  In the spirit of Earth Day, consider these tips from FSU’s garden enthusiasts: instead of driving to class, take advantage of Sustainable Campus’s bike rental program. Or, as Louie Castillo does, plant a plant as often as possible. Use minimal plastic because plastic is evil and get outside at least once a day to take in our beautiful surroundings.

Marques insists that Earth Day should be everyday but you can bet that she and many others will be celebrating our Mother this weekend.