Banner Year for Upstate Community Garden
The student-run vegetable and herb garden on the west lawn of the Campus Activities Building had its best year ever in 2013.
A core group of 10 to 15 students got their hands dirty each month, and received a welcome assist from Physical Plant. Employees sculpted dirt mounds for planting in the spring, removed piles of weeds gathered by the students in the summer—and put up rabbit-proof fencing after interlopers were discovered.
"The rabbits ate almost all of the peas," said medical student and garden leader Jessie Wilcox.
Other plantings met a better fate. "The beans went really well, and just kept going throughout the season," Jessie said. "The squash and zucchini came out really well, too, and the radishes, potatoes and carrots."
Jessie said it was great to see so many students willing to work in the garden, especially inexperienced growers. Jessie grew up on a farm and her parents run greenhouses, so she shared her knowledge with other students.
This is the fourth year for the 30-foot by 40-foot garden, which was started by Thomas Pelis, assistant vice president for facilities and planning and chair of Upstate’s Sustainability Task Force. He’ll be looking for more students next year to keep the momentum going.
Jessie will be starting her fourth year of medical school in the RMED program in Oswego County, and will need to step aside. "I'll still be around I can help if one of other students who wants to take a leadership role," she said.
In 2009, Upstate president David R. Smith, MD signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), committing the university to become "carbon neutral" by 2050.
Upstate submitted its first Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory in 2010, and began work on a Climate Action Plan that was completed and submitted to the ACUPCC in May 2011.