Growing Sustainability: Students Raising Food on Campus

New high tunnel will produce tomatoes, radishes, lettuce for Knox

May 05, 2014

Earth Day Festival 2014: High Tower Planting

Knox College's first high tunnel is now in operation, and students have started growing lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, and other food there to help make the Knox campus more sustainable.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at the high tunnel (basically, a farm field under a greenhouse roof) took place on April 26 as part of Earth Week 2014. A second high tunnel will open later.

The high tunnels are the latest example of Knox's commitment to sustainability. Knox student Will Souman '14 said they will enable the College to reduce its carbon footprint in terms of transporting food to campus. The food grown in the high tunnels will be "local food that we've grown here on campus by our students," he said.Earth Day Festival 2014: Tree Planting

"It allows for fresh and healthy local produce to end up in the cafeteria," he added. "And it allows students to connect with where their food comes from."

Organized by Knox Advocates for Recycling and Environmental Support (KARES), Earth Week took place the week of April 20 and consisted of a wide range of environmentally focused activities, including workshops, demonstrations, and an Earth Day festival.

The Earth Day festival, also on April 26, brought together Knox students and members of the larger Galesburg-area community. The festival featured local music and booths set up by area artisans and community and campus organizations, including the Galesburg Farmers Market, Knox Prairie Community Kitchen, and Blessings in a Backpack. There also was a tree-planting. (Photo at top: Students plant tomatoes in the Knox high tunnel. Photo at right: Students plant a tree during the Earth Day festival. Photo at bottom: Booths at the Earth Day festival.)

"It's attracting a lot of different people, which is really important," Knox student Madeline Pape '17 said while she visited the festival. "That's the coolest part for me, seeing how many people are here and how many different kinds of people come together."

Other Earth Week events included a discussion about environmental activism with Louise Harrison and the spring EquiKnox lecture presented by Kelsey Timmerman, author of "Where Am I Eating?" and "Where Am I Wearing?"

Timmerman spoke about food sources and global consumerism, and he encouraged students to "go global" by studying abroad. "Be curious about people and how they live -- and also share," he said. The EquiKnox lecture was sponsored by the Cultural Events Committee and Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies with support from the Office of Sustainability, Garden Club, KARES, and Amnesty International.

Earth Day Festival 2014