StoGrow: money doesn’t grow on trees

The St. Olaf Garden Research and Organic Works (StoGrow) and the Environmental House co-sponsored the Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28 in the Art Barn. It was a celebration of the last harvest of the season featuring produce grown by students, lawn games and performances from three campus musicians and bands.

The organizers collaborated with Bon Appétit to create a seasonal menu featuring produce grown by StoGrow. The fare was considerably more exciting than your typical Stav dish. They served Creamy Kohlrabi and Smoked Cheddar Bisque, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Pumpkin Seed Clusters and Fall Tomato Salsa with Crackers and Crostini. Fireside’s delicious hot cider was available to drink.

The event was the last for StoGrow for the foreseeable future, as the student organization was officially disbanded on Nov. 1 due to budgetary issues.

“We felt like we wanted to go out with a bang, we wanted to have a fun time,” Aubrey Olson ’18, StoGrow co-farmer along with Athena Stifter ’19, said. “[StoGrow and the Environmental House] have been talking about a collaboration for a while.”

StoGrow’s farmers are hoping that StoGrow will live on despite this setback. They are currently in talks with the Biology and Environmental Studies department to absorb StoGrow sometime during the spring semester. Olson highlighted the importance of StoGrow’s mission and its importance to the campus.

“It brings awareness of local fruits and vegetables to the campus community,” Olson said. “I know a lot of people tend to be in their own little bubble and just have what Stav provides, which is very unlike what is actually grown … people just aren’t aware of how food is grown.”

StoGrow had a bountiful harvest this fall. They gathered organic vegetables like kohlrabi, tomatoes, kale, cucumbers, butternut and acorn squash, radishes, beans and peppers. They had a very productive summer too and donated hundreds of pounds of produce to Stav Hall.

Even though the delicious food was the main focus of the event, there was also plenty of entertainment at the Harvest Festival. Kubb, a Swedish game where the aim is to knock over wooden blocks using sticks, was by far the most popular lawn game. There was also a notable performance by campus band Green Tree and the Blazers. Harry Edstrom ’19 serenaded the crowd with his acoustic guitar and duo Alex Hemmer ’18 and Danny Harrington ’19 rounded out the afternoon.

The event was a great way to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and highlighted a student organization that has suffered from the recent budget cuts that have affected many areas of campus life. Hopefully we see their return next spring so we can all enjoy more seasonal produce.