Blog Post #1: Bryn Walker (’21), Edible Campus Volunteer

 

I’ve been involved with Edible Campus in one way or another for just over a year. During my first semester, while I was attending the weekly workdays, I actually met my current room mate. We bonded over our shared love of gardening and plants, and grew to be close friends over the course of last year. Last semester, my schedule meant that I couldn’t attend the community workdays, so instead I assisted in watering various beds when it was needed. The garden that I watered most often was Hardin, and I formed a special connection with that bed. Now in my third semester, I have returned to caring for Hardin, but this time around I’m part of the ENEC 593 APPLES course that partners with Edible Campus. Every few days, I make the trek down to south campus and spend  about half an hour showering the plants and pulling up a few weeds. This may sound mundane, or even tedious, but in reality it’s a welcome break from the real tedium of being a student. For just a little while, I can escape into a patch of soil and plants and get my hands dirty while ignoring my other responsibilities. I’ll breathe in the sweet scents released by the plants as the water hits them, and everything will seem alright. It’s a comforting activity, and it feels more than a little cool to actually be in charge of the garden bed that I fell in love with last year. I know Hardin’s quirks, its needs, what grows well and what doesn’t. Most especially, I get to take care of my favorite fig tree on campus. The Hardin fig tree may not look as well-formed as the fig tree in Lenoir, or have as many fruits as the fig trees in Stacy, but it is perfect in my mind. The figs may be fewer in number at Hardin, but wow, are they large! I’ve gotten some that were about the size of my fist, which is no mean feat for a fig tree. Every fig from Hardin is spectacularly figgy in flavor; a light floral edge cuts through the sweetness and makes each fruit something fantastic and beautiful to consume. And the color! That glorious shade of magenta-y purple shines like a beacon, waiting to be plucked from the branches. There is no end to my love for this fig tree; the smell of figs that envelopes you when you lean in close, the pleasingly imbalanced display of the limbs, the smoothness of the bark and the broadness of the leaves- I could go on for ages. In short, this fig tree is a sensory feast, and a wonder to behold. Taking care of Hardin has given me the opportunity to grow even closer to this tree, and that is something I could not be more thankful for. The Edible Campus program has really given me a great many connections, whether these connections be to other people, such as my room mate and close friend, Hailey, or to the environment or yes, to my favorite fig tree. The ability of the program to foster such connections is amazing. For many people, I believe, Edible Campus has altered their lives in countless ways through these connections and left them with more than they thought could have possibly been gained from gardening. That is something truly beautiful and rare.

Sincerely,
Bryn Walker
Class of 2021