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Fairfield U. Offers Gardening 101

Going green. It's become a popular discussion topic on college campuses across America. And while some students may toss beer cans into a recycling bin instead of on the lawn, or turn lights out when they leave a room, few actually take action.

But at Fairfield University, senior Dana August, the president of the Leaders of Environmental Awareness group, has helped start an on-campus garden that will both educate and help make the campus more sustainable.

"It is amazing to see how the sustainability movement on campus has infinitely increased since I started at Fairfield three years ago," said August, a San Diego native who stayed on campus this year to work on the project. "I am so glad that I am part of something that will continue to be a part of the university for years to come."

August, along with faculty members and fellow students, has created a garden with 18 raised beds featuring root vegetables, perennial herbs, peppers, tomatoes and pumpkins. It will not just be something nice to look at and learn from. Some of the food will be used in the campus cafeteria, while other portions will be donated to a local hunger relief program, Harvest Now.

Meanwhile, professors plan to use the garden to teach the importance of growing food on your own. Biology professors Jen Klug and Tod Osier both said they will work the garden into their lessons.

"We would like students to learn how to grow their own food and realize the pleasures that come from gardening," Klug said. "We also want to make people aware of where their food is coming from."

The group hopes to feature "Garden Nights" at the cafeteria, where some of the food, such as squash for soup, comes from the garden. They plan on finding food that can be grown throughout the winter, such as kale, a form of cabbage.

"It may not be a more popular leafy green, [but] it is something that grows very well all year -- and I hear it is especially tasty after the first frost," August said.

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