Octopus's garden: reaping the benefits

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Like roots reaching out in all directions to support the growth of its plants, Octopus’s Garden (founded by students in 2008) nourishes awareness and togetherness.

And no one knows that better than the garden’s work-study students, who dedicate their time to caring for the crops.

Students connect through “collaborative events like building bird and bat houses at the garden with Ornithology Club or teaching cooking in Minerva Houses,” said Alexandra (Alex) Lim ’26, a computer science major minoring in environmental science.

The harvests also enrich the lives of those on campus and those beyond its gates.

“Some of the produce is taken by Union’s kitchens for Ozone Café, a weekly vegetarian and organic dining option led by Ozone House,” Lim said, “and some is donated to local organizations like City Mission of Schenectady.”

This enrichment goes well beyond nutrition, too.

Beautiful beets from Octopus's Garden

Beautiful beets from Octopus's Garden

Dennis Moraga ’27, who plans to major in environmental policy, likes the opportunity the garden provides for understanding the relationship between food and the environment.

“Working the garden gives students a better appreciation for the effort required to grow food in a sustainable way, and the collaborative nature of it helps them understand that this sustainability is something we all have to work together to achieve,” he said.

Fellow first-year Maren Kreutzer ’27 agrees. She plans to major in environmental science, with minors in art history and English.

“In our consumer culture, we are so used to having everything within arm’s reach that we rarely stop and consider how it got to us. Growing plants teaches people to appreciate the significance of life because, as there are no shortcuts in cultivation, patience and dedication are the only way to reap the fruits of labor.”


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