By Cassandra Morgan, Staff Writer
A Sustainability first year seminar (FYS) class taught by Mathew McCourt at UMF is proposing an action plan to get different fruits, vegetables, and herbs growing in various places all over campus.
Entitled, “An Edible UMF,” everyone on and off campus will benefit from the plants being grown; students and faculty walking by will be able to pick the different fresh fruits and vegetables.
To get the project started the class worked on gathering background information to know where they were able to plant such fruits, vegetables and herbs. “[We did] soil testing and looked up what foods would grow best in Maine conditions,” said Jenessa Talarico, a freshman at UMF.
“Each person in the class has picked specific plants to look into to see if they would be able to be grown in Maine and on UMF’s soil,” said Casey Griffin a sophomore in the class. “I’m looking into strawberries and other examples are pumpkins, apples, [and] blueberries.”
Along with finding background information and picking specific plants, the class is researching where best the fruits, vegetables, and herbs will grow.
“We were also given a site on campus to claim; mine is the space between the Emery building and Brinkman,” said Griffin. “Others have places like the area next to Ricker addition, the stone wall that runs along the side of Dakin and near FAB, but those are only some examples.”
“There were a few factors that went into where to find the places to plant fruits, vegetables and herbs.” Talarico said, “[We] looked at how much sun an area got, if it floods, and how close to the road it is.”
The FYS class was also able to share their plans through a Symposium presentation last week. The class had a large poster displaying campus, and included areas that get frequent shade due to buildings, places that were high trafficked by students, and places that were most popular where students hung out. At the bottom there were photo-shopped pictures showing what the planted fruit, vegetables, and herbs would look like.
“We are staying away from using the word “garden” because the administration does not like it for some reason,” said Griffin.
Before the plan can be finalized, the FYS class has to make sure that students are interested in the idea, and if it’s possible, but preparations are being made for Spring 2016.