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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Eat the Lawn: One student’s initiative benefits all

<t the Lawn, spearheaded by Katie Blanchard, is the epitome of aesthetics and sustenance in food creation and has been a huge success in the Carleton community. This communal garden located squarely between Boliou and Olin consists of Red Russian Kale, Hubbard Squash, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Jester Mix Marigolds and Minnesota Midget Melons.

Blanchard first conceptualized the idea of a communal garden in her freshman year, but it was only in spring ’09 when Fritz Haeg came to campus to speak that she was able to flesh the idea out. Haeg is famous for converting average suburban home lawns into vegetable patches; Blanchard got in touch with him, and designed the lawn over the term.

“I was always interested in food because it serves as such a powerful connection to the land and the basic way we live,” Blanchard said. “Even the act of being out working and seeing your food grow each day is so satisfying. It’s just a beautiful and sustaining act.”

On the design, she said, “When I began to work on the project, someone asked me, ‘Is this going to be crops or is this going to be beautiful?’ and I wanted to combine the two because I want to show people that food can be really pretty.”

And indeed what is popular about this project is the aesthetic of a garden in the middle of academic buildings. Lily Schieber ’12 said, “At first I wasn’t so sure about the idea, but now every time I pass by, I love looking at the gorgeous sunflower patch.” Students have also been picking the sunflowers to use as Friday Flowers, which Blanchard is glad about, since her goal was to grow food in a beautiful manner.

Besides being beneficial for all involved, it has also been an inexpensive endeavor since the plants were available from the greenhouse, and the labor force was student volunteers.

Students on campus have reacted with enthusiasm to both the processs and the fruits of Eat the Lawn. Throughout the spring and summer, students helped in small and large ways, making the project a team effort. “I was passing by the work they were doing one day in spring and they let me pick up a shovel and just dig for a bit. It was great to help a little,” Roman Morris ’12 said. “A few weeks ago I took a pumpkin from there, and it made me happy,” Kjirsten Santaferraro ’10 said. “I ended up carving and dressing it and eventually salting and baking the seeds, so I used it well.”

Blanchard has the patch of land until next spring and hopes that students continue its upkeep for the years after she graduates.

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