ECO students share harvest at equinox garden party

The sun was shining, pumpkins were picked and home-dried lemon verbena tea and apple cider was shared, as the Environmentally Concerned Organization of Students gathered in the Sol Patch garden to celebrate the Fall Equinox.

Located on the corner of Font and Lake Merced, behind Mary Park Hall, the Sol Patch Garden was the scene of the ECO Students’ Autumn Equinox/harvest party that took place last Wednesday.

“It’s always been a spot for the kids to come and chill,” Gardening Specialist Linda Jo Morton said. “But now it’s a real community vegetable garden. It is fully registered with the city, and the food that is grown here can be used to feed our community. That’s one of my goals, for this food to be able to feed the students on campus.”

SF State Environmentally Concerned Organization members, (left to right) Clem Tsang, Marc Hernandez and Amir Sahit test their pumpkins' ripeness by hitting them to make sure they sound hollow at the Sol Patch Community Garden in honor of the fall equinox during the organization's end of summer garden celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Lauren Saldana/Xpress

SF State Environmentally Concerned Organization members, (left to right) Clem Tsang, Marc Hernandez and Amir Sahit test their pumpkins’ ripeness by hitting them to make sure they sound hollow at the Sol Patch Community Garden in honor of the fall equinox during the organization’s end of summer garden celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.

The garden has evolved over the years, Morton said. She has been working on the grounds crew at SF State for about four years now and is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the garden’s landscape, even keeping an eye on the irrigation systems that are in place to make sure the plants are getting watered properly.

The small student gathering of about 10 people reflected and celebrated the summer’s harvest and talked preparation for fall and winter, also called the “dark half” of the year.

“We’d like to bring awareness of our garden and our environment to students here, on campus,” organization president Liana Derus said. “It was only three years ago that the garden was pretty much dead, that was due to a lack of student participants, and we hope to change that.”

Yassy Faal, a 21-year-old health education major, said she joined the ECO Students because she considers herself environmentally conscious and thought it would be a good way to make new friends when she first arrived at SF State.

“I just looked up student organizations on campus, and this one stood out to me,”  Faal said. “This garden is great. We have rainbow chard, herbs, kale, arugula, tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, yellow squash, kabocha squash, rosemary, sunflowers, sage, thyme, artichokes, strawberries, and I’m sure there’s more that I didn’t name.”

“We are so lucky to be able to utilize this space on campus,” Derus said. “Not a lot of people know about this place, and we’d like to change that.”

For more information on the Sol Patch Garden and the ECO Students, visit them at facebook.com/sfsuecostudents or on Instagram and Snapchat @sfsuecostudents.

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