So, what is a sustainable garden anyway? Does it just mean that its purpose is to grow organic food? Actually, sustainable gardens focus on producing plants and foods while creating as little impact on the environment as possible. These gardens practice several techniques that allow them to produce food for communities, while still conserving resources and protecting the environment. Some of these techniques include some common ones you may have heard of, such as composting and mulching, as well as some more unique options. Using drip irrigation is an efficient process, which conserves water, because the water flows directly to the plants, making evaporation less likely. Sustainable gardens also try and use native plants and trees, because they require less energy to cultivate, than exotic species. Integrated pest management is another important process, which encourages helpful insects to come to the sustainable garden and eliminate the unwanted pests, instead of using pesticides (which can kill the helpful insects as well as the undesirable ones).
While Rochester might not spring to mind as the best climate for maintaining a beautiful garden, two students have been doing their part to change that image. Two Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year program participants, Caitlin Smigelski and Annalise Kjolhede, have created a sustainable garden near Whipple Park. The garden produces vegetables, herbs, and fruits, which are then served to the university community in dining halls on campus. So, the next time you sit down for a meal on campus and you’re wondering what that taste is, it’s probably the taste of sustainability.