By Czarina Obieta
Cal Poly Pomona’s University Housing Services and Power Save commemorated Earth Day by planting their own garden, Vista Farm, on April 18.
The University’s Housing Services staff and Facilities Department set up a patch in between Palmitas Hall and the Los Olivos Dining Commons where residents were given the opportunity to participate in planting different types of fruits, herbs and vegetables.
According to Elena Aleman, an assistant to the executive director at UHS, who was the chairman of the planning committee, UHS usually plans numerous events in accordance with Earth Day, but this is the first time they attempted to grow a garden.
“We’ve done events like recycling soles of shoes, we’ve had fair-type of events with demonstrations [on things like] how to make compost,” said Aleman. “Some things we repeat, but this year, we decided to try something new.”
Students picked from a variety of vegetables such as bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, thyme and tomatoes.
Aleman said this project aimed at getting the residents involved in the ongoing process of growing and cultivating what they planted. Although the vegetation will be watered by the sprinklers, the students are encouraged to water their plants every day for a week and to check up on the development of the plants. Once grown, the students will be allowed to harvest the fruits, herbs and vegetables and possibly serve their goods in Los Olivos.
Men from the Landscape Services also volunteered to guide the residents on how to plant the vegetation they chose.
Marc Cram of the campus Landscape Services was one of the campus workers who taught the students how to start a vegetable garden and explained how to keep the plants alive.
“If [the plant] is too high or too exposed, the stems can dry out,” said Cram. “If it’s too deep, it [might get too much water] and die. Since we are on a slope, you have to make sure that the soil is higher so that it has a little bit of a catch [so the water doesn’t slide down].”
Many of the students who volunteered to plant had some experience gardening and growing their own food, both on and off campus and involving indoor and outdoor vegetation.
Ana Gonzalez, a first-year psychology student and Montecito Hall resident, said despite the fact that she has been growing her own indoor plants, she still learned something new from the experience.
“I didn’t know that [when you plant a tomato], you’re supposed to make it level with the ground,” said Gonzalez. “And that when you buy plants you’re supposed to try to buy them as small as possible [so that their stem can grow].”
Besides promoting a healthier lifestyle and being more earth-friendly, many students thought that planting their own vegetables was beneficial to their college experience.
“It [helps you grow] because you’re taking care of something,” said Michelle Torres, a first-year political science student. “It’s like [taking care of] a baby.”
Some students, such as Rebecca Jaynes, a first-year sociology student and Palmitas resident, were reluctant to volunteer at first, but were glad they took the time to get involved.
“It was easier than I thought,” said Jaynes. “I felt really good about doing that.”
Jaynes said that this was not the only thing she did to celebrate Earth Day. She also helps her friend collect recyclable bottles around campus on a regular basis as well.
The participants, staff members and coordinators all expressed excitement to see their plants grow and are looking forward to the day they can share, eat and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Natalie Diaz/The Poly Post
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