Can we grow our own? Yes ve-gan!

first_imgWorcester’s allotments, named ‘The Edible Garden Project’, produced their first harvest last week. Worcester was able to use a patch of land which had previously served as the on-site builders’ yard, and had later become overgrown. Despite this, it took over a term for permission for the project to be granted by the College Garden Committee. Sarah Falder, former Green Rep for Worcester, was the co-ordinator of the project. She said, “The motions for the money passed pretty easily. Everyone was really keen. It was so refreshing.”The new allotments at Worcester are especially salient for those who remember the incident in Michaelmas of 2008, when the then-Green Rep of Worcester was threatened with rustication after holding an illegal apple pressing event in the College grounds. It was this event that spurred David Barclay, now OUSU President, to become involved in student politics. Of the allotments, he said, “The establishment of a garden in Worcester is a great symbol of students and the College working together fro the common good”.Alistair Marsh, Chair of the Environment and Ethics Committee said, “The quads of many colleges were devoted to cabbages and carrots duringthe Second World War. Although most colleges are fond of their hallowed turfs, why not put them to good use?”Oxford colleges are not the only ones to grow their own. The Oxford Green Project, a student led volunteering scheme, are also planning an organic allotment scheme, named “OxGrow”.Lukas Wallrick, the secretary of OUSU’s Environment and Ethics Committee, said “The OxGrow project is very exciting because vegetables can help students to gain a better understanding of local and seasonal food.”But some remain sceptical. Henry Curr, a third year at Magdalen, said of the allotment trend, “The idea of a JCR having its own allotment is utterly ridiculous and a complete waste of time and money. “These hippies who think the road to environmental nirvana is self-sufficiency are infuriating and, for consistency, should probably leave and go to a university closer to wherever they live. I’ll keep my frozen peas, thanks.” Worcester is the latest in a string of colleges to have introduced student-run allotments within the college grounds, where students maintain, harvest and consume the produce. Other colleges with similar allotments schemes include Balliol and Linacre, and the trend is gaining momentum across the University. This new allotment trend comes as the backlash against last term’s enthusiasm for Meat Free Mondays begins to set in. In Trinity Term 2010, many JCRs passed motions to outlaw serving meat for one day a week, to raise awareness about the impact that eating meat has on the environment. Students across the University expressed their irritation about Meat Free Mondays by bringing counter motions before their JCRs. Following Christ Church’s initial Meat Free Mondays motion, cheers in the JCR Open Meeting greeted a further motion for Steak Only Mondays. Other Colleges attemted to implement Vegetable Free Tuesdays. Aidan Clifford, JCR President of St Catherine’s, which passed the Meat Free Mondays motion last term, said, “I am aware that the initial enthusiasm for Meat Free Mondays has waned somewhat.”Given that the momentum which the Meat Free Monday movement originally garnered appears to have slackened, some voiced reservations about the new allotment trend. Philip Beak, a second year medic at St Catherine’s, commented “At the time of Meat Free Mondays, loads of people jumped on the band wagon of ‘Yeah, we all love the environment’. “It is the same with these allotments, people are green-keen at first, but after a while everyone will stop caring. How fast do vegetables even grow? It will provide enough for maybe one meal a month. No one wants vegetables shoved in their face – either at Hall or in allotments”.last_img

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