After visiting Panama this summer and working in a preserve, senior Eva Brazer was inspired to revive the gardening club at Tam.
“About a year ago there was a garden club [at Tam] but it wasn’t advised,” she said. “I was motivated to [re-start the club] after seeing a natural preserve in Panama. I learned about natural preserves and how important it is to conserve our ecosystems.”
Brazer spent a month in the Mamoní Valley Preserve as an unpaid intern working with a rainforest conservation group. “While in Panama I researched alongside biologists and university students, learning about different methods of sustainable agriculture,” she said. “Through this experience, I learned and worked with polyculture, hydroponic and aquaponics.”
Brazer hopes start a hydroponic garden at Tam, that will grow plants in water rather than soil. “Hydroponic gardening systems tend to use less water and plants grow faster,” she said. The club plans to restore the garden behind the student center, making it a nice place for students to eat lunch and meet up. “We want to make the gardening area behind the student center a beautiful place for people to hang out,” said junior club member Evelyn Power. “It has a lot of potential.”
Co-advisor of the club and environmental science teacher Caroline Dezendorf echoed Power. “I think it’s really important for students to recognize where their food comes from and what actually goes into growing their food,” she said. “It’s really great to have a group of students that are passionate about not only participating in sustainable agriculture and how to grow their own food, but also making the campus more beautiful and creating a space where students can hang out in free time and be surrounded by nature and a working garden.”
According to the club’s website their other goals for the first semester include testing the pH of the soil and adjusting it to their needs by adding compost, building a cold frame to sprout plants for spring planting, and planting things with a symbiotic relationship.
”Everyone seems really enthusiastic about the club. And those in the club seem to already know a lot about gardening too.” Power said. “Personally, I would love to garden at Tam because there hasn’t been any other place for me to garden myself. Hopefully this is a good opportunity for those who feel that same way I do.”
The club meets in room 63 or the garden every Wednesday at lunch. “I want people to be able to attend this club under no pressure and make it welcoming to newcomers,” Brazer said. “It is important to teach young adults about the harmful effects of our current agricultural methods as well as show them just how easy it is to produce your own food.”