Thankful for a busy and bountiful Fall!

As the days get shorter, the air gets cooler, and winter rains begin to relieve our parched soils, it’s a wonderful time to reflect on on the bounty that the fall semester has brought to the Westmont Gardens!

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It has been a busy and fruitful few months in the Gardens… one of the most exciting developments was successfully raising funds to purchase 12 laying hens for our beautiful chicken coop! Over the summer, Westmont student John Wright built the garden an awesome, predator-proof chicken coop, and the Garden & Sustainability Club worked hard all semester to secure funding to bring chickens to Westmont. The purpose of having chickens is to create a more sustainable ecosystem in the garden: the chickens eat our green garden scraps and pesky bugs, and in turn they help make natural fertilizer that we add to our compost pile, which then gets added back to the garden beds to enrich the soil (not to mention they are super fun to have around)!img_1757IMG_3604

This semester has also been filled with fun activities with the Garden Club – from a farmers’ market field trip, to a delicious Mediterranean cooking class, potluck snacking in the garden, lots of bustling Friday afternoon workdays, beekeeping sessions with Paul Cronshaw, delicious persimmon milkshakes in the DC, and an awesome field trip to SB Natives Nursery – just to name a few! Below are photos from just a few of these activities:

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Farm Fresh Friday continues to be a hit with students, faculty, and staff in the Dining Commons! From our rotating fresh pressed juices to seasonal dishes featuring just-harvested produce from the gardens – the Dining Commons is constantly seeking new ways to bring fresh, local produce to our menus. Below are photos of some Farm Fresh Friday favorites:

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In an effort to increase awareness about sustainability on campus, the Garden Club has also hosted a monthly Sustainability Speaker Series in partnership with the Gaede Instiute! This fall we’ve been blessed to have a wide range of incredible speakers – from Paul Cronshaw, President of the Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association, to Kathi King, Director of Education & Outreach for the CEC, and Laura Johnson from Salty Girl Seafood. Next Tuesday, December 6th, the Garden Club will host the final Speaker Series Presentation of the semester with Ellie Perry, partner and co-founder of Sundowner Consulting. The presentation will take place from 3:30pm-4:30pm in Hieronymus Lounge. Local snacks will be provided!
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All in all, it has been a fabulous fall in the Westmont Gardens – full of gardening, raising chickens, cooking, eating, and learning together. Here’s to a bountiful fall and another wonderful year ahead in 2017!

Westmont Sustainability Meeting

On June 21st a group of persons interested in sustainability at Westmont gathered together to discuss steps towards a wider discussion/implementation of these topics on campus. This meeting, which was called by the VP of Administration and Planning Chris Call, was attended by representatives from all areas of campus: faculty – Paul Willis, Wayne Iba, Campus Planning – Randy Jones, Physical Plant – Tom Beveridge, John Housh, Auxiliary Services – Bill Groeneveld, Library – Robin Lang, Dining Services – Anthony Waldrop, Provost – Mark Sargent, Student Life – Stu Cleek, and a student representative by e-mail – Shea Werner.

The meeting discussed some of the little things on campus that could be done to increase sustainability, what sustainability could be defined as, and and what next steps are to be taken. The consensus was that an inter-departmental task force with a direct communication line to the E-team, would be the best method for setting a framework, measuring progress, and focusing on both large and small things that Westmont as an institution can do to further sustainability.

We at dining services are excited to see the fruits of this meeting!