UNC’s Edible Campus initiative already has nine gardens scattered across campus and is planning on adding more this upcoming year.
The organization aims to educate members of the community on the food they are putting in their bodies and where it came from through a hands-on, edible method. Anyone walking on campus can pick and eat food from an Edible Campus garden.
Tony Mayer, horticulturist for Edible Campus, said their next big project will be a garden behind Davis Library.
“Our permanent hub site, which is behind Davis, is going to be ready by March this coming year,” he said.
Mayer says the garden will include traditional vegetable crops, berries, fruit trees, perennials, bushes and shrubs.
Emily Auerbach, the founder of Edible Campus, said it is crucial to know where your food comes from.
“First of all, you can look at the environmental impact of how food is conventionally grown. It’s one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Understanding how to create a better system of food production is essential to being a responsible citizen,” Auerbach said.
“Beyond that, food production is essential to many of the labor problems that we face in the U.S., many of the gender inequity problems we face in the U.S.”
Jill Coleman, a landscape architect for UNC, said the effort involved with Edible Campus is ongoing.
“At this point, we’re maintaining the plantings that we did last year,” Coleman said. “We’ll probably also look for some additional sites to do some planting.”
Edible Campus is partnered with Food For All, which is UNC’s campus-wide theme until 2017.
Food For All aims to document food cultures and teach the community about food access and how to use food to prevent disease.
Marcie Cohen Ferris, co-chairperson of Food For All’s steering committee, said they are very happy with the work Edible Campus is doing.
“It’s just a way to reinforce that the best possible way to eat on our campus is seasonally, to eat as much local food as possible, to eat food that we know who has made it and who has grown it,” Ferris said.
Auerbach said she hopes Edible Campus gets students thinking about where they’re getting all their food and the impact their money can make.
“Getting students excited about and involved with sustainable food production is the first step in creating a society that cares about where food is coming from – and really looks into these issues and demands more from their food system.”