Spring weather means long days, time spent outside and, to members of the Garden Club, an opportunity to spend time in the community garden.
Though the Garden Club has continued to meet throughout the past few months and has attended events such as a trip to Growing Power, a sustainable farm in Milwaukee, spring term has offered the club long hours in the garden, located across the street from Eco House.
“We have had a really big resurgence of people in Garden Club since Earth Month and the Growing Power Field Trip,” senior and previous president Evan Lewitus said. “There’s just a cultural shift. Like, the freshman class this year just seem extremely motivated and just out there and activated.”
The club is in the process of growing heirloom tomatoes and peppers supplied by a Farmer’s Market vendor in East Galesburg. The club is also planting onions, carrots, radishes, kale, herbs, and has plans to plant squash and watermelon within the next week.
“They’re all pretty small seedlings. They’re all just starting to pop up, but it’s looking pretty good,” Lewitus said. “We have a lot of diverse stuff and we have a lot of perennial flowers … that come back every year without any work. It’s really nice.”
In the fall, the club will have an annual fall harvest, complete with a potluck and extra food supplied by Cornucopia.
Junior Emily Cooney will be taking over as president of the club in the fall and has been vocal in this year’s planting. Both she and Lewitus discussed the bond between Galesburg and Knox that is strengthened by the garden.
“It’s so easy as Garden Club, more so than any other club to a certain extent, to connect with the community,” Cooney said. “Farming food is an easy sort of cultural bridge from Knox to Galesburg.”
Both Cooney and Lewitus stressed that no experience is necessary to garden, and everyone from both the Knox and Galesburg communities is welcome.
“You go out there [and] you just learn the process,” Lewitus said. “It’s not like we need to make money or sustain ourselves … [it is] just sort of an [experiment] … to have fun and learn about the plants that grow naturally.”
The club has seen an influx of members and people who are interested in gardening.
“I don’t think there’s been enough of an outreach program, but I think that’s starting now and there’s been a shift in the Knox culture towards that. So I think as that wall breaks down, people are going to be more willing to come and ask to plant stuff. That’s a nice goal to have,” Lewitus said.
Both Cooney and Lewitus already have big plans for the club next year.
“I hope it’ll be more multidimensional and expand and get more community members involved,” Lewitus said. “We’re already starting to get more organized … [and] to develop a new system to keep the garden growing and very alive and healthy.”