Campus farming project grows food for Saint Joseph's College and the community

June 2, 2009 Contact: Charmaine Daniels at (207) 893-7723 or e-mail cdaniels@sjcme.edu

Saint Joseph's College and its food vendor Bon Appetit are joining forces to plant a campus garden that will both grow food for the college dining hall and donate fresh vegetables to a community food pantry. College student interns, community volunteers, and farm manager Michial Russell of Standish have planted 1,000 seedlings and 300 seeds so far on land owned by the college across from the main campus.

Six interns work in the garden plots and receive classroom instruction on methods of organic gardening and sustainable agriculture. Another part of the educational vision of the project, called the Pearson Town Farming Project, is a "kindergarden" plot where children learn about gardening.

On May 30, during community planting day, community members were invited to come and learn about organic gardening, including square foot gardening for small spaces.

Stuart Leckie of Naples, Bon Appetit's general manager at Saint Joseph's, says his company is dedicated to sustainable agriculture and promoting locally grown food in order to reduce the carbon footprint of long-distance food distribution. Leckie says the yearlong project plans to extend the growing season into the winter months with the use of greenhouses.

A share of all the produce will go to the Catherine's Cupboard Food Pantry in Standish, which was started by the college last year.