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September 13, 2012 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-09-13

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D The Michigan Daily I michigandaily.com Thursday, September13, 2012

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BY: Cassie E

vArts \Writer

In summer months, countless people cradle
comically large watermelons without ever
considering the fruit's formative days.
When Natural Resourses & Environment
masters student Allyson Green described the
process of watching a watermelon develop, she
unconsciously spread her arms out like the ten-
drils of a watermelon's vines.
"I had no idea what a watermelon looked like
growing," Green said. "To watch this little, tiny
plant go from looking like it was about to die, and
all of a sudden you had these beautiful flowers and
this tiny little watermelon growing on it.
"A little bit of hard work and some great things
that have nothing to do with us are happening to
make that little watermelon grow."
Many students may think
of gardening as an
activity reserved
for the elderly,
whittling away
their twilight
years, which
compels the "
question: Do
University
students see
of diving x
into the
dirt; shovel
and water-
ing can in
hand?
Business
junior YahyaR
Syed takes
classes rightMa e
across from
the University's
Cultivating Com-
munity garden, but
says he's never heard
of it before.i
"I wouldn't say I notice any-
thing at school," Syed said. "If there are flowers, it
makes the place look nice but that's about it."
Syed described the Nichols Arboretum as
"amazing" and said he's always enjoyed his
mother's garden. Yet he added that federal money
shouldn't be used to fund gardening unless it's
research related, referring to federal funds that
went toward sustaining heirloom peonies at the
Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in the summer
of 2011. He added that the University shouldn't be
investing a significant amount of money on gar-
dening for "aesthetics" alone.
But according to some, gardening can have
artistic and practical merits that might justify why
the 'U' allots resources to gardening and research-
ing horticulture.

LSA junior Ali Imam says he believes urban
farming is an important initiative that the Univer-
sity should continue to focus on in order to create
a more sustainable food system.
"Green is good," he said.
No matter what perceivable benefits might
come from gardening, several students agreed
that there is natural artistry inherent to garden-
ing. With some nurturing, a garden can become a
tangible work of public art.
Cultivating Community
Locatedbetween the apocalyptic sounds of East
Quad's renovation and frat houses littered with
post-game Solo cups is the Cultivating Com-
munity garden, a patch of land
outside of the Ginsberg
Center. It overflows
with sunflowers and
greenery as tall as
the students who
likely walk past
every day with-
out giving it a
second glance.
Yet stu-
dents dedi-
cated to
Cultivating
Community, a
student orga-
nization on
campus, are
willing to get
their hands
a little dirty.
Std n They main-
tain a seemingly
constant burst of
color and natural
artistry.
The group fosters a
public space that beautifies
a little corner of Ann Arbor while
also demonstrating and supporting local garden-
ing efforts that have tangible benefits for individu-
als and the collective public space.
A recent addition to the Cultivating Commu-
nity family, Green spent the summer as an intern
at the Arb, where as a program coordinator, she
helped oversee all activities around the gardens.
She organized workshops and field trips for those
who were curious about gardening and growing
their own food.
As the name suggests, Cultivating Community
doesn't just produce vegetables and flowers. Stu-
dents from across the University come together
to create their garden, a process that begets the
group's other main goal: outreach inAnn Arbor.
See SUSTAINABILITY, Page 3B

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