La Semeuse Redux

Scripps is returning to its roots-literally.

From an idea formally proposed and powered by Megan Ritchie ’02 to the Buildings and Grounds Committee earlier in the school year, Scripps students, staff, and faculty have been busy this semester planning and planting a community garden for all to enjoy.

Already, newly handmade redwood planter beds boast an upcoming harvest that includes an assortment of organically grown tomatoes, strawberries, chives, mustard cabbage, a variety of chili peppers, radicchio, eggplant, cantaloupe, honeydew, squash, and figs.

On the next hot Indian summer day, students will be able to walk on the brick-lain paths and sit in the shade provided by”the orchard,” a collection of pomegranate, apple, and blood orange trees, and marvel at the delicious fruit beckoning from the leafy pluots (a cross between a plum and an apricot).

And in the future, “the arbor,” slated to be built and planted by students in fall 2002, will host a variety of grape and kiwi vines, among others. (Could a Scripps brand wine be far behind?)

A community garden is not a new idea for the campus; the proof lies in the numerous archival photos depicting happy gardeners tilling the soil on the land now home to the Bette Cree Humanities Building. In more recent years, both Pomona and Pitzer Colleges have offered plots of land for interested students to get their hands dirty. What makes Scripps’ garden different is in the strategy and most definitely the execution.

“Instead of just allocating land,” said Director of Grounds Lola Traffecanty,”we all worked together to design a garden that would be both aesthetically pleasing and add to the beauty of the grounds while providing the opportunity for budding gardeners to hands-on grow organic fruits and vegetables.”

Traffecanty, who aided in developing Ritchie’s proposal, acted as both primary designer and flora counselor during the duration of the project. “I worked with Megan on so many aspects of this project. She’s a real go-getter who did a lot of leg-work and research to make this idea come to fruition in such a short time.”

Though Ritchie has now graduated, she leaves leadership of the project in the capable hands of seniors Kelsea Jewell and Dorothy Beals, who ultimately hope to start a landscape club this fall to provide continuing support and maintenance for the garden in years to come.

Considering her upcoming responsibilities, Jewell commented: “This project is important on so many levels: people need to realize that organic is not just a label. They need to be educated as to where their food comes from. I’m very happy to have been given a chance to take over where Megan left off, and I’m very excited Scripps decided to reinstate the Student Garden.”