UNH’s Organic Garden Club (OGC) collaborated with NextGen Climate last Thursday, Oct. 20 to host a garden party for UNH community members. Located at 10 Spinney Lane, the Farm Jam event had live music, speakers, a bonfire and s’mores, all to celebrate the end of harvest season.
“Farm Jam is a time for students in the community to come and learn about the connections of agriculture and climate change,” junior NextGen member Dylan Carney said.
The event, running 5:30–9 p.m., was free to attend, with an optional donation basket dedicated to the Waysmeet Center, located at 15 Mill Road, for their support to the OGC.
The venue for Farm Jam was dimly lit with a warm and welcoming environment. Succulent apple-flavored delights came in the forms of cider, crisp, vegan pie and donuts from Applehurst Farm. There was also freshly grilled pizza.
Two local bands came to play. The opening band was Phatt James, which consists of UNH students Matthew James, Mark DelGrosso and Tim Graff. Headlining the event was the Trichomes, which consists of UNH alumni Ian Smith, Stefan Trogisch, Shane Devanney and Eric Kehoe. According to the Trichomes’ Facebook page, the band’s genre is “tropical funkadelic dub soul rock.”
According to Carney, “the Trichomes also run their own organic farm, and one of the members works at the UNH Dairy Bar.”
Carney, who gave a speech at the event about voting to support sustainability, said that he also works full-time for 350 Action, a group trying to shift the national political narrative to focus more on climate change.
“We are here to educate,” Carny said. “To educate about garden club, to educate about climate change and to celebrate the end of harvest season.”
Many attendees sat around a campfire for a little warmth while roasting marshmallows for some good, old-fashioned s’mores as playful dogs scurried about.
Senior OGC Business Manager Katherine Bemis said that she had predicted 60 students and 10 nonstudents to attend. Bemis reported after the event that a total of 106 total were in attendance on Thursday, with about 10 being nonstudents.
“I would say it was a successful event as we stayed under budget, hit our attendance goal and everyone was dancing,” Bemis said.
Senior agriculture major and OGC Farm Manager Summer Boudreau said that the organization also hosts community dinners every second Friday of the month at the Waysmeet Center. “We serve as local and as organic as possible. Free to the public. We’re doing everything we can to get the community involved, as we serve at least 60 people per dinner, usually never having leftovers,” she said.
In regard to her involvement in the organic garden, Boudreau said that doing the hands-on activity has been the best thing to ever happen to her. “Not every school has this opportunity and more should. But it has been such an amazing experience,” Boudreau said.
OGC promotes organic growing methods and actively involves the UNH and broader Durham community with the gardening of their crops. Local preschoolers have even come on field trips to do some gardening of their own, according to Boudreau.
“We also did a CSA [Community Supporting Agriculture] for a family, where they pay in advance and once a week we would drop off fruits and veggies at their house, and if we had excess of a certain fruit or vegetable they would get extra,” Boudreau said. “Essentially it [was] an investment in the farm.”
“After we grew the crops this summer, we went to Durham and Exeter Farmers’ Markets to sell the fruits and veggies and fruit. We also had a Farm Stand in front of Dimond Library,” Boudreau said.
According to Boudreau, OGC is looking for new members to join and fill positions, since many of the executive members are graduating this spring semester.
“We need a Farm Manager or two, a business manager and a club president, and some people to work at the farm,” Boudreau said.
If you would like to get involved with the UNH Organic Garden Club, email Boudreau at firstname.lastname@example.org