Sprout History

The Sprout Garden is born

In spring 2004, Alaya Morning '06, inspired by the organic garden program at Middlebury College, sought to create something similar for Connecticut College. With support from the College’s Supervisor of Grounds Jim Luce and the Connecticut College Arboretum , the Sprout garden was planted next to the 360 Apartments.

The intention of the Sprout program was to provide the Connecticut College campus and local New London community with a practical way to learn about sustainable agriculture and living. Sprout was established to supply organic produce for dining halls on campus and network with farms in the greater New London area. In fall 2005, Sprout had its first harvest ,launching the tradition of community-focused production and distribution that continues today.

Growing in more ways than one

In fall 2006, the Sprout garden expanded from its original size of 600 square feet to 4,420 square feet. The garden also increased its capacity to include herbs, such as mint and lemon verbena teas, which were dried, bagged and sold in the College's Blue Camel Café as a fundraiser for Sprout.

In 2008, Eric Dooley-Feldman '09 became president of Sprout, leading over 25 student members. The garden was expanded to 7000 square feet, allowing even more room for crops in the site. A honeybee initiative, pushed by Sprout members, brought 8 honeybee colonies to the north end of the garden. Stuart Woronecki, a local music professor and professional beekeeper, maintains the hives while the bees help pollination. The garden continued to produce a variety of crops in summer 2009, harvesting over 600 pounds of fresh produce by the end of the season.

The Sprout Garden moves but remembers its roots

In fall 2011, Josh Stoffel was hired as the first Manager of Sustainability on campus and decided to begin working closely with Sprout to provide ongoing administrative support and guidance that the group had lacked in previous years. Merry Byrne '13 became the new president of Sprout, and along with Patricia Carey, the Vice President for College Relations, and Josh Stoffel, a new era of Sprout was born. It was decided that the garden site would be moved from next to the 360 Apartments to the green right behind the College Center at Crozier-Williams ("Cro"). The new garden site is 9,500 square feet, with over 3,200 square feet of arable space. This new garden site is in a prime location on campus to continue its tradition of student management and accessibility as it is highly visible to both current and prospective students. Funding for the relocation of the Sprout garden came from three sources: a Steel House Sustainability Grant awarded to Merry Byrne, an external grant from the Bennack-Polan Foundation and substantial support from President Higdon.

In summer 2012, the summer garden managers, Azul Tellez '15 and Zoe Lynch '15, maintained the old garden site next to 360 Apartments and sold the produce to Harris Dining Hall. Additionally, Azul, Zoe, Nick Luce '14, and Josh Stoffel worked together to contruct the new garden site that thrives today.

Sowing the seeds

A special thanks goes out to all of the members of Sprout who have made organic gardening at Connecticut College possible, including:

Alaya Morning '06

Ben Tressler '05

Anne Lind '06

Anna Meyer '07

Misha Johnson '08

Cara Donovan '08

Nathalie Theys '11

Eli Mangold '11

Zoe Madden '12

Merry Byrne '13

Zoe Lynch '15

Azul Tellez '15

Jeff Parlin '15

Kritsina Satterlee '15

Jose Portuhondo '15