The RUrbanPioneers Community Garden celebrated Earth Week (not to mention the return of dry weather in Chicagoland) with its first New Deal Soil Service Day at the Schaumburg Campus. Students, faculty, staff, and local citizens participated in hauling compost — made from raw materials generated from our Wabash Building and supplied by the University — over to the newly expanded garden plots on the far north side of campus and spreading the rich soil amendment over the newly-tilled ground.
Kicking off the proceedings at 9am on a chilly but sunny Saturday morning were Paul Matthews (pictured at left), Assoc VP of Planning and Operations at RU, who put the garden’s expansion in the context of RU’s environmental sustainability redevelopment efforts at the Schaumburg Campus; local IL State Rep Michelle Mussman (D-54th, Schaumburg), who praised RU’s efforts and encouraged the crowd to push forward in making the suburbs more sustainable and liveable; and “urban plantsman” John Eskandari (below, right), who about organic soil preparation and conservation and its relevance to backyard gardening.
Garden efforts this weekend and next will complete a circle of use set in motion when the University opened the Wabash Building in downtown Chicago last year and began generating food waste that is converted to compost by Ken Dunn’s Resource Center. The compost which will boost the nutrients in the soil and form the basis of the fruit of the gardener’s labor this year.
Ten plots were actively farmed in 2012, the Garden’s inaugural season. This year, 27 plots have been reserved, nearly tripling the size of the garden. All plots will be outfitted soon with drip irrigation for use during dry weather. Come join the RUrbanPioneers next Saturday, April 27th, in the growing local food movement here in the NW suburbs!
These photos were taken by SUST Prof Mike Bryson’s two daughters, Lily (age 11) and Esmé (5), who joined other faculty member’s kids as well as Rep. Mussman’s son in shoveling, hauling, and spreading compost. Good times for all! See more photos of our Soil Service Day in this online album by Lily and Esmé Bryson and this album by MaryBeth Radeck.