Wake Forest University Campus Garden

Discovering Okra
August 2, 2012, 5:24 am
Filed under: Summer Intern

Okra, as it turns out, doesn’t come off the stem batter-dipped and ready to fry. I grew up in Pennsylvania so you can understand my lack of knowledge in that regard. The only encounter I ever had with the spindly vegetable was mediated by a Paula Dean television show and some shallow stereotypes about southern cuisine. Okra, in fact, does grow on the end of a long, verticle stem but can be prepared in a variety of delicious ways. A recipe for my new favorite, Tomatoes and Okra, is below. I like to serve it over rice.


Tomatoes, diced

Okra, chopped into 1/4 inch segments

1 large Yellow Onion, chopped

1 tbsp Worchestire Sauce

Heat 2 tbsp Olive Oil in large pot over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent. Add tomatoes and okra. Simmer on low for 1-2 hours until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens. Add Worchestire sauce and season with salt and pepper.


Mighty Broadfork, Humble Cardboard
July 24, 2012, 2:55 pm
Filed under: Summer Intern

In the world of organic gardening, where weeds run rampant and topsoil erodes, there is no greater contrast than between the broadfork and cardboard. And yet, there may be no greater partnership. When it comes to leverage and soil-piercing power, the broadfork is the tool of choice. Plunge its steel tines into a row, jump on the cross-bar a few times, and rock those long handles back and forth to aerate the soil without disturbing earthworms, tilling up weed seeds, or exposing soil to erosive powers. If weeds are the problem, then cardboard is the solution. A free square of flattened cardboard can smoother weeds to death, clearing all competitors from a vegetable bed. Cardboard will also decompose over time improving soil structure and tilth. If you’re looking to build up, break up, or otherwise improve the quality of your garden soil, look no further than the mighty broadfork and humble cardboard.

A special thanks to Peace Haven Farm for donating the broadfork to the Campus Garden!

Chasing Ignorance
July 24, 2012, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Summer Intern

I was raised in a very (stereo)typical, suburban American household. We lived in a development plotted with 1960’s-style brick ranches and split levels. Lawns were manicured and bordered with shrubbery. There were two cars in every garage, and food came from the grocery store, usually wrapped, boxed, and ready to eat. It wasn’t until last summer, at the age of 28, that I started to wonder how food is grown and produced.
I don’t know how I came to the realization that I was entirely dependent upon grocery stores (and a car to get me there) for all my nutritional needs. That’s the nature of ignorance; it’s reclusive, elusive, and not easily recognized. For some reason, though, I became acutely aware of my grocery store dependency and agricultural naiveté.

I got into gardening, so I tell people, by chasing my ignorance. I had never grown something from seed, so I went to the big box hardware store, purchased a few random packets of seed, and took my first steps into the dark void in my brain that should have contained some sort of knowledge about how to feed myself.

It has been one year since I wasted those seeds. I am proud to say that I now have a more serviceable understanding of seed germination. With a little help from local gardeners and a summer internship here at the Wake Forest Campus Garden, I am well on my way to growing my own food. Moreover, I am getting the chance to help other people chase down their own elusive ignorance and begin a lifelong journey of learning and growing.


If you are a Wake Forest undergraduate or graduate student and have an interest in helping the University in its efforts toward developing a more sustainable campus, please consider volunteering with the Office of Sustainability  or applying for an internship.