Occidental’s Food Energy and Sustainability Team (FEAST) has a new president. Former FEAST President Skye Harnsberger ’16 passed on leadership to Triana Anderson (junior) at the start of this semester. Anderson views her role as a chance to learn important delegation skills and continue the growth of the garden with the help of fellow e-board members Julianne Butt (senior), Agnes Waithira (sophomore), Nick Conklin (junior) and Diego Zapata (sophomore), as well as the rest of the FEAST membership.
FEAST, founded in 2009 with nine Urban and Environmental Policy (UEP) students and a pile of compost, now has 50 members. The group — responsible for managing the school garden adjacent to the Greek Bowl — tends to plants, raises chickens and composts food waste. FEAST furthers environmental sustainability efforts on Occidental’s campus.
“[The FEAST Garden is], in my opinion, a place for students to learn and experience how to organically grow their own food and reconnect with the natural world,” Harnsberger said. “It’s a healing space too.”
During her time as president, Harnsberger’s goals were to raise money for improvements in the garden, purchase a new flock of chickens, continue to build the volunteer base and landscape other spaces on campus more sustainably.
Any club or individual seeking to implement sustainable practices in any area of campus has a friend in FEAST, Harnsberger said. The garden is an ideal space for individuals looking to connect with nature, learn about farming and improve Occidental’s environmental efforts.
Anderson’s new role as president demands extensive knowledge of gardening and food policy. Last Wednesday, she attended a Food Sustainable Working Group (FSWG) meeting to learn more about campus-wide efforts to discuss food initiatives and the Real Food Challenge, a commitment that Occidental signed Oct. 2014 to bring more local and ecologically-sound foods to campus. Zoe Alles (sophomore), one of the student co-chairs of FSWG, explained that the focus of the meetings is to connect the various groups at Occidental that are involved in food policy and food-related issues.
One of FEAST’s current projects is the creation of an online map to document the plants in each garden bed — a task that UEP 247, Sustainable Oxy: Food Growing and Preparation, is assisting with headed by UEP staff member Megan Bomba.
“I’m really excited about the online map,” Anderson said. “The archives will allow for us to see what has been and what will be in the garden long after we’re gone; it’s a great resource.”
Current produce in the garden-beds includes kale, chard, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, lavender, fennel, onions, parsley and rosemary, all of which members can harvest and bring home.
“I love being in the garden. Taking time to be outside is a really important part of my mental health,” Anderson said. “It’s really cool to have this space.”
FEAST’s future goals include producing markets on the quad, partnering with the Green Bean to create a drink for Earth week and collaborating with the FSWG.
FEAST meets at 11 a.m. on Sundays in the garden and is open to anybody. For additional inquiries, email [email protected]