Panther Plot produces Harvest Fest
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 11:09
Panther Plot welcomed hungry guests to the first-ever Harvest Festival with fresh produce and a slow-roasted hog on Sept. 12.
The festival was held in celebration of the initial harvest of the Panther Plot and included a live disc jockey who spun rec ords as both University of Northern Iowa students and community members passed through the serving line. The hog roast was provided by Carl Blake of Rustic Rooster Farms.
Junior UNI students Britney Bockstahler and Kara Poppe were the organizers of the event. The two came up with the idea for a campus garden last school year during one of their Presidential Scholar classes.
“We had to come up with issues that we as a community were struggling with. We came across this idea by examining how much college students do not know about their food, such as where it is coming from and where it is being made,” said Poppe.
“We had to create a project that we could do as a class to fix these issues and we decided creating our own garden was a perfect idea since the food would come directly from our community; and also the fact that the university did not have a garden to begin with,” Bockstahler said. “This gave us a chance to provide the university community with fresh, locally-grown produce.”
The garden, located near the intersection of College Street and University Avenue, was planted with an abundance of produce, including tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, onions, beets, lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers, squash and watermelon.
The food will be distributed to UNI Dining Services, Food Corps and the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. Fresh produce will also be sold at the Panther Plot Produce Stand, which is stationed in front of Maucker Union from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m on Fridays.
With the first harvest under their belt, project organizers are already preparing for next summer’s garden.
“We are beginning to educate new members in December so that we can teach more students about the importance of local-grown foods, and keep this project running for the year to come,” Bockstahler said. “We are going to be meeting this week and talking with new volunteers about our project.”
The Panther Plot committee will be meeting Monday, Sept. 23, at 8:00 p.m. in the Presidential Room in Maucker Union. Everyone is encouraged to come and learn how to be involved with the garden.