As part of the OSU Institute of Technology School of Culinary Arts’ sustainability initiative, the program is fundraising to create an outdoor teaching garden to really grow the school’s farm to table concept.
The project, now posted on the OSU Foundation’s crowd-sourcing website PhilanthroPete, has the goal of raising $15,000 that will be used to create a 5,000 square foot vegetable and flower garden, which is currently empty green space behind the Culinary Arts building.
“The School of Culinary Arts at OSUIT is committed to creating new and engaging experiences for our students,” said Dean Gene Leiterman. “The garden will be faculty and student-maintained just outside our doors. It will offer our students an opportunity to better understand their ingredients from seed to plate.”
The fundraising campaign has already reached the goal halfway point, and Leiterman hopes when the campaign closes on Nov. 28, they will have the funds needed to get the garden constructed and ready for planting in spring 2019.
The money raised will be used to replace the grass with a crushed rock base to promote better drainage and easier access to the raised stainless steel garden beds that will be equipped with a drip irrigation system.
“We hope to have four long and two horseshoe-shaped beds to plant various vegetables and flowering plants that our students can use in their classes as well as in our restaurants,” he said.
Plans also call for tables, benches and a pergola.
“The teaching bench area will be a great spot for our campus visitors and students to learn more about the garden. Some of the other sustainable measures we are looking forward to including are rain barrels and a composting station to provide the best nutrients to our gardens,” he said. “I envision students sitting on benches out back harvesting tomatoes, strawberries, squash, and potatoes.”
More and more customers want to know where their food is coming from, Leiterman said, and this outdoor teaching garden, along with the Garden Studio that opened last year, allow students to not only learn how to cook with fresh ingredients, but how to actually grow and cultivate them as well.
“This garden will allow our program to reduce food waste, increase sustainability, and create a hyper-local restaurant experience for our guests,” he said. “Not only will the students immediately benefit from vegetable-centric experiences, they will also be able to create garden experiences like this at this at future restaurants for years to come.”
For more on the OSUIT Culinary fundraiser, go to philanthropete.osugiving.com and click on the Outdoor Teaching Kitchen project.