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Campus Grow RSO starts organic initiative, shares planting with children

CMU’s campus is growing a little greener thanks to the efforts of volunteers and youngsters at the Child Development and Learning Lab.

Campus Grow, a local-food focused registered student organization, hosted a planting day for the children at the CDLL in May and has cared for the plants ever since. Teacher Mari Potter and her class of about a dozen 4 and 5 year olds, along with members of the RSO, planted an assortment of lilac cuttings, squash and watermelon seeds.

“It’s a great way to teach the children about all the different plants,” Potter said. “They get to learn how it all works, from planting the seeds until it catches root, and before long they will be fully grown plants, very similar to these children.”

Campus Grow cares for two gardens on CMU’s campus. One is located west of the parking lot by Theunissen Stadium on West Campus Drive, and another directly behind the Industrial Engineering and Technology building.

Brazil junior Emilie Jordao worked as a Campus Grow volunteer over spring semester. She helped organize the day of planting, which was delayed due to rainy weather.

“I love to see the kids get excited about planting,” she said. “They smile and it makes me smile. We all have such a good time!”

Five-year-old Mount Pleasant resident Kiera Harsh participated in the planting, and ended the activity with a smile and dirt-covered hands.

“I like planting the purple and pink flowers, because that’s my favorite color,” she said.

Elena Bozzi was one of five members who tended to the gardens throughout the summer semester.

“There was a dry spell so some of the watermelons didn’t survive, but the ones that did are coming along very nicely,” the Sterling Heights senior said.

Campus Grow, a non-profit, relies on volunteers, donations and selling its own organically grown produce to get the money it needs. For $25, anyone can rent a plot of land from one of the two gardens.

Other than the pea plants, more than a dozen different varieties of vegetables will not be harvested until the end of the summer.

“I love plants,” Bozzi said. “I love to watch them grow, and I especially love eating food that I’ve grown. I am 100 percent about local food; the more local, the better.”

Campus Grow utilizes and researches non-toxic and organic means of producing a variety of open-pollinated fruits and vegetables. It was founded two years ago by Manistee senior Chris Venegas.

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