Roosevelt University students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni and friends recently marked New Deal Soil Service Days and Earth Week by preparing an area consisting of 30 individual plots for an RUrbanPioneers Community Garden located at the Schaumburg Campus. The group received help and some kind words from State Rep. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg (pictured above at center).
With shovels, wheelbarrows and compost, gardeners (College of Pharmacy professor Amusa Adebayo is pictured at right) met Saturday for the first time to prepare the soil at the northeast edge of the Schaumburg Campus for gardens that are expected to produce food for the campus’s dining center as well as area food pantries.
“Our hope is that you will grow enough produce this season to sustain yourselves, your families and in some cases export what you have grown into the community,” said Paul Matthews, assistant vice president for campus planning and operations and one of the leaders of major award-winning sustainability initiatives at both the Chicago and Schaumburg campuses.
Last year, one 10-by-10 plot was able to yield, over the growing season, 860 pounds of produce. This season, the community garden will triple in size, from 10 to 30 plots.
The April 20 event kicked off Roosevelt’s Schaumburg Campus gardening season, but due to heavy rains, the soil was wet and soft.
New this year, seven cubic yards of compost, originating for the first time from food and paper waste at Roosevelt’s McCormick Dining Center at the Chicago Campus, were deposited at the site. (At left, College of Pharmacy administrator Shaun Keating, center, digs into the compost heaps with other gardeners). That compost is expected to be turned into the soil by Roosevelt’s community gardeners on Saturday, April 27 when New Deal Soil Service Days concludes.
“It’s great to see composting being done on such a large scale. Congratulations on becoming a model for our areas,” said State Rep. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg, who joined Roosevelt community members for the Saturday, April 20 event.
Those who will be growing vegetables and flowers at the campus’s community garden this season include: Roosevelt Sustainability Studies student and garden coordinator Mary Beth Radeck; students Anum Bhatty, Diane Cluxton, Ryan Disselhorst and James Feezor; professors Robert Seiser, Amusa Adebayo, Laura Kopff and Maris Cooke; adjunct faculty members Vicki Gerberich and Ruth Moser; College of Arts and Sciences associate dean and professor Steve Cohen; administrators Shaun Keating, Michele Mika, Eric Tammes, Mary Gabioud and Ben Scherr; clerical staff members Linda Karnatz and Lauren Thorp; the Food 2 You Dining Center at the Schaumburg Campus; Roosevelt’s Early Childhood Center; and Roosevelt alumni and friends, including Mira Rherd and Susan Ciancanelli, Angelique Draftz and Richard Skubis; Amanda Butera, Linn Borgeau and Rae Magnani.
“Bringing compost from the city out into the suburbs is an amazing concept,” said John Eskandari (pictured at right), an experienced plantsman who spoke during the opening event to gardeners about the importance of preparing soil organically. “It’s amazing that the University is going full circle,” added Eskandari, who quoted Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who once said: “A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.”
New Deal Soil Service Days continues with the turning of the compost into the soil at the RUrbanPioneers Community Garden from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 27. More compost material is expected to be delivered to the Schaumburg Campus in May.
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