Westmont alumnus grows produce for the Dining Commons and educates students about environmental sustainability.
Anthony Waldrop ’11 cultivated his love for environmental sustainability as a Westmont student. He now spearheads an effort to provide campus-grown produce for the college’s dining services. He has built a 6,000-square-foot garden on the southern end of campus and plans to add another 7,000-square-foot patch.
An employee of Sodexo, which provides dining services to students, Waldrop has recruited about 40 student volunteers. They helped him harvest about 200 pounds of lettuce, peas, onions, carrots and cilantro.
This spring, the Westmont Garden provided 17 percent of the salad-bar lettuce mix.“In the summer, we plant bell peppers, jalapenos, many varieties of tomatoes, eggplant, squash, corn and pumpkin,”Waldrop says.“We hope to produce as much food as we can, but our main goal is providing an educational resource through volunteering, internships, awareness and events.”
The results have been fruitful. On April 5, volunteers plucked about 10 pounds of carrots from the garden, washed them and offered them in the Dining Commons. They were gone in 45 minutes.“The campus response has been phenomenal,”Waldrop says.“Awareness of the garden has increased considerably and so has our volunteer base.
“The Westmont community is becoming more aware about the origins of the food we eat and the implications of food production in the world. We want to continue to build student involvement, creating a sense of responsibility for our food.”
At Westmont, Waldrop was involved with Westmont Earth Ministry, which encourages students to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, and Westmont A Rocha, which fosters a biblical view of environmental stewardship. He spent a semester studying in Costa Rica, learning more about environmentalism. He also traveled to a summit at Eastern University held by Renewal, a Christian creation care network for students.
After graduating, Waldrop spent three months interning with A Rocha Santa Barbara on their three-acre farm, growing produce for underserved communities. Since Sodexo hired him in September 2011, he has visited the UC Davis dining services team and co-presented a paper, “Developing a Garden Program at your Sodexo Site,” at a regional sustainability conference for Sodexo.“I’ve been blessed to fulfill a dream I had as a student,” he says.
See blogs.westmont.edu/garden for more information about the Westmont Garden.