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Campus-Grown Garlic Makes its Way to Students' Plates

Chefs from Campus Auxiliary Services show garlic that was grown in the e-Garden

Campus Auxiliary Services Executive Chef Ilana Cahill and Assistant Executive Chef Wilson Castillo show some of the 120 pounds of garlic that will be used in campus restaurants this spring. /PHOTO BY MICHAEL WARD

Organic garlic harvested from the Geneseo e-Garden is making its way to the plates of students, faculty and staff at the College. Food Studio North and Max Market, two of the newest on-campus restaurants, will be using the 120 pounds of garlic harvested from the e-Garden throughout the beginning of the spring semester.  

The e-Garden is an off-grid education and research facility on campus that allows students to become deeply involved in sustainable concepts, including sustainable energy, composting and organic agriculture. Planting and harvesting garlic in the e-Garden has been an educational process for students.

“Food can be a powerful tool,” said Executive Chef Ilana Cahill. “The e-Garden is an excellent opportunity to be involved in food and see what goes into producing it. It helps students develop a relationship with food.”

Dan DeZarn, director of sustainability, agrees. “Our goal is for students to have a greater understanding of where food comes from and the thoughtfulness and planning that goes into food, especially organic, sustainable foods. Through students’ experiences with the garlic, they gain an understanding of the food lifecycle," he said. "Compost from the restaurants feeds the plants that in turn feed them. Ultimately, they begin to see organic waste not as waste but as a resource.”  

The relationship between the campus restaurants and cafés and the e-Garden is not new. Campus Auxiliary Services has been deeply involved in the research facility since its inception and continues to support the e-Garden as it grows and evolves. Plans are underway to increase the quantity and variety of items that are grown in the garden that can best enhance the campus menus, and special farm-to-table dinners that take place in the e-Garden are in development.

“It’s a luxury that the campus has the e-Garden as well as a director of sustainability,” said Cahill. “Talk about farm to table — it’s right here.”