I was recently invited to a very special dinner that took place at the Earth House, one of the specialty houses on campus. The dinner is a semi-annual dinner called The Sprout Dinner. Sprout is our on-campus, student-run garden. They grow all types of seasonal edible plants, some of which are served in our dining hall. They have also recently collaborated with FRESH New London, a non-profit that aims to involve local children and the community in gardening.
The Sprout Dinner happens every semester. The leaders of Sprout invite students who work in the garden, students who are connected to the garden, and a professor to join them for a dinner that is almost entirely created from food grown in the garden. I was invited, along with my three roommates, to attend because of our composting project. The compost we generate will be donated to Sprout at the end of the year. The professor who came this year is Rachel Black, who is teaching anthropology courses at Conn this semester that are focused around food.
Professor Black held our attention as she told us stories about living in Italy and Canada. One especially interesting story was about the community garden she helped to start, it’s growth, and its near destruction at the hands of a train company. We all sat around eating delicious food grown in the Sprout Garden: pumpkin soup, kale chips, spinach, mint and radish salad, homemade cornbread, sweet potatoes and much more. The conversation and food made it one of the more unique dinners I have attended at Conn, and I hope future collaborations between professors and student-run initiatives on campus will continue to happen.