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posted on 8/31/11
Saint Joseph's College Goes Fresh with Harvest Fest 2011
As part of a sustainability effort to take advantage of fresh, locally grown food, Saint Joseph's College freshmen will prepare a weekly meal with fresh produce grown in the Learning Garden, a small plot of land just west of Sparling Ave next to Joseph L. Minielli Memorial Soccer Field. The project has been dubbed Harvest Fest 2011.
The garden was planted and tended to through the summer by Associate Professor of Education Dr. Lana Zimmer with the help of two interns, junior Biology majors Sarah Todd and Amanda Rousseau. Zimmer will meet with a different group of freshmen every week at the garden to explain how to grow a garden and raise different vegetables. She will also assist them in harvesting some of the vegetables that will be used in the weekly meals. Whereas Zimmer is in charge of planting, tending, and harvesting, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Brian Capouch will serve as head chef for the meals.
"There are numerous goals our students will be accomplishing with this project," said Capouch. "Sustainability is obviously the main lesson, but they will also learn about gardening, new cooking techniques, and working with the community and local farmers. It will also serve as a great bonding experience for the students."
"Adjusting to college involves making conscious choices and trying new things, and students taking part in an activity like Harvest Fest is a good risk," said Dean of Freshmen and Assistant Professor of Communication and Theatre Arts Heidi Rahe. "I thank Brian Capouch and Lana Zimmer for spearheading this wonderful project."
Besides using the food they grow, the students will also utilize flour from historic Bonneyville Mill in Elkhart, Ind., and chickens that were raised locally. To ensure nothing goes to waste, a compost pile will be formed with any unused food. Each meal will consist of homemade bread, prepared by Professor of Education Dr. Jennifer Barce, a soup or salad course, a main course, and dessert. Courses that will be prepared include peach soup, pesto alla Genovese, and pizza.
Every meal will feature a form of entertainment, the variety of which is being decided by Associate Professor of English Dr. Maia Hawthorne. Pam Brown-Seely '98, the College's Library and Archives Manager, will talk at the first meal about SJC's history of food self-sufficiency. Students will also take turns presenting at the meals and describing what they made.
The group is requesting supplementary fresh, locally grown food - especially potatoes, carrots, peppers, greens of any sort, and dill and other herbs. If you would like to provide food, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org expressing your interest.
Saint Joseph's College, named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation and a "best Midwestern college" by the Princeton Review, is a four-year, Catholic college offering 26 majors, 4 group majors, 28 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of more than 1,000 students.
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