A Fresh Look into Spartan Dining’s Garden

Previous Intern now MIT, Alex C. works with the UNCG Culinary and Marketing team in the campus community garden

1.      Is the garden mostly herbs?  Are you increasing the vegetables you grow?

o   We have a mixture of 12 different herbs, vegetables and wildflowers to help support our Chartwells sustainability efforts. Our green and red peppers are used in the Fountain View Dining Hall, and the herbs are used at all of our dining locations for seasoning, sauces and garnishes.

2.      Who runs the garden? How many hours does it take and how many people help him? Who helps him?

o   The garden was a combination of effort from our Culinary Chefs and their dining team, and our Marketing Intern, Alex Cornett. Campus Executive Chef, Ted Donnelly, helps to maintain and water the garden with the help of Alex and the rest of the dining team. The garden signs and funny puns were designed and executed by Marketing Director, Jackie Heller, with the help of Alex.

3.      Do you know how much less packaging you use thanks to the garden?

o   We reduced our packaging of herbs and spices by 20%.

4.      Are the plots near the kitchens? Do chefs just go out and snip what they need

o   Yes, the garden is right outside of the Fountain View Dining Hall and our culinary team snips the herbs at the beginning of each day to ensure they have enough for each meal.

5.      For the “snip your own herb stations,” are these herbs that have already been cut, and they’re displayed in the dining rooms for guests to help themselves?

o   Yes, the snip your own is available for students in the dining hall

6.      Are the flowers picked and used in dining halls or simply to make the gardens pretty?

o   We use the wildflowers for display in many of our stations to add color and create a natural looking atmosphere, we even decorate our marketing tables with fresh herbs and flowers. Last year, we participated in Ellen Degeneres’ “Bring Back the Bees” where we planted wildflowers in our garden to support our local bee population. 

7.      What was the cost in getting the gardens up and running?

o   Luckily for us, the garden plot was already there but we spent several hundred dollars on gardening tools, equipment and signage.

8.      Any plans for expansion?

o   We are planning to plant more seasonal vegetables such as kale and lettuce that we can use in the Dining Hall. But the size is perfect for us to manage.

9.      How do you let students know what you are doing?

o   We advertise with a big banner over the garden reading “Spartan Dining’s Garden, from our garden to your table” to emphasize our fresh grown ingredients.