In response to a challenge to make the SU Florence program more sustainable, students and staff have completed the first stages of a project entitled “Edible Campus” in the small yard next to the Villa Rossa kitchen.
This was produced with the participation of 8 student volunteers during the 6-week period of the Florence 2013 summer session, culminating during the last week of classes, July 9, with a meal made exclusively from the vegetables growing in this improvised garden (pasta al pesto and a salad of lettuce, rucola, cetrioli, tomatoes, beans, and strawberries).
One of the tasks of the summer students was to plant seeds for the next group of students to transplant during the Fall semester. The project is related to Alice Waters’ example of the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, and her sponsoring an organic garden at the American Academy in Rome. Waters, who is the American leader of the Slow Food movement, inspired Michelle Obama to plant a vegetable garden on the White House lawn in 2008.
Two more phases of Edible Campus are planned in Fall 2013 and Spring 2014. Work in the garden may be a part of the homework in the classes taught by Richard Ingersoll and Peter Fischer. Plans for an urban farm are in the works, as well as the use of a composter and the creation of mulch from the cuttings of grass and leaves.
Soon many species of winter vegetable will be growing on the SUF campus: fennel, leek, brussel sprouts, black cabbage, green cabbage, blue cabbage, biettole. We look forward to seeing how it all comes together!