Organics Guild aims for year-round food production


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Three students gather in Chipeta Garden.

Western Colorado University’s Organics Guild has launched a campaign to raise money for a year-round greenhouse. The guild provides garden space for students on campus and serves the harvest to the students for free.

The west campus has four growing areas – Chipeta Garden, Pinnacles Forest Garden, Pinnacles Greenhouse and a garden outside of Kelly Hall. All gardens on campus are operated by the Western Organics Guild. The Guild’s primary mission is to provide students with experiential learning through regenerative gardening practices.

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“I wanted to be part of the action for solutions, so we can learn to live with the environment instead of against it,” said Destan Gerhard, Mentor of the Organics Guild. “Currently, I think we look at the environment as a resource to extract from. I don’t think that’s a sustainable way of living with the environment.”

The guild prides itself on the mission of using the food they harvest to feed the student body. The club is also set to continue Western’s push towards a more sustainable campus.

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“Western goes to great lengths to be sustainable in many different ways. We have a sustainability coordinator who is part of the building management of the gardens,” said Gerhard.

Kate Clark, assistant professor of environment and sustainability, said using the campus gardens as a food source helps reduce the school’s “food miles,” or distance of food transportation, and the amount of fossil fuels used. Not only that, but Clark said that this work creates a meaningful connection between our bodies and the larger world.

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“This is a way to open the window to better understand where the things we need come from and how we can regain self-reliance in our lives,” Clark said.

Western’s Organics Guild hopes to expand its operations by adding a year-round greenhouse to campus gardens. This will allow the guild to continue their gardening work during the harsh Gunnison Valley winters. To donate to the guild for the greenhouse or its general operations, email [email protected]

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