Preserving greenspace

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After reading the article, ƒ?oeDesign for Athletic Facility Revised (Stone, 2/10)ƒ??, we, the members of MULCH, felt compelled to voice our concerns about the impending ƒ?oeoccupationƒ?? of our space.MULCH, (Macalester Urban Land and Community Health), began as a student-led organization 10 years ago. Since its inception, MULCH has maintained our on-campus community garden while also supporting sustainability issues, local food campaigns, and providing a space for people of diverse backgrounds to learn new skills and share experiences. Our garden is an asset not only for those of us at Macalester, but for our neighbors in the community at large.

Two years ago, we were informed that the new Field house would overtake the space where our garden now grows. MULCH met with administrators to express our concerns about the gardenƒ?TMs future. Even after attending multiple meetings with the green architects and the master planners, we have yet to get a firm commitment as to whether and where our garden may lie in the coming years.

In light of the fieldhouseƒ?TMs proposed ƒ?greenƒ?TM design, it is appropriate to include plans for a new garden location. While promoting an environmentally friendly building, administrators and designers have neglected to consider one of the most important ƒ?green facilitiesƒ?TM already on campusƒ?”the MULCH garden, thereby threatening not only the existence of the garden itself, but the survival of MULCH as an organization. Highlighted in Stoneƒ?TMs article was the commitment to occupying a smaller ecological footprint with the new building, but if the garden is displaced, such rhetoric will ring hypocritical.

It is imperative that we secure a new space soon. While landscaping is usually left until the end of construction, we must start early to guarantee consideration of the most promising locations. At the base of sustainable agriculture is the soil itself, which we stand to lose with the construction. Ten years of work has gone into that space, and the soil has been built up as our most valuable non-renewable resource.

Finally, the construction of a new site isnƒ?TMt necessarily a loss. It will provide us with an opportunity to grow and learn. Weƒ?TMre excited about the possibility to try some permaculture design techniques and improve our production. In the past years, the MULCH garden has expanded to almost twice its original size, and is now in partnership with Bon Apetit to provide local produce to the cafeteria. Given the lack of concern demonstrated by the Administration, weƒ?TMre not angry yet, but weƒ?TMre sure as hell concerned.

This piece was submitted on behalf of MULCH. Contact co-authors Julia Eagles ƒ?TM06 at [email protected]; Janet Aubin ƒ?TM07 at [email protected]; Elyse Gordon ƒ?TM08 at [email protected]; and Sarah Claasen ƒ?TM08 at [email protected]