Do you know where your food is grown, or why we have strawberries available all year? This year’s Peay Read is trying to educate students on the ramifications on having exotic produce available virtually at all times.
As part of the Peay Read program, students were tasked with coming to the Service Learning Center to volunteer in the community garden.
“We have set up this dig day to help show students what it takes to grow food locally,” Alexandra Wills, director of The Service Learning Center and sitting member of the Peay Read committee, said.
The book that Peay Read is reading this year is “Where am I Eating,” by Kelsey Timmerman. Peay Read used the same author last year with a similarly titled book, “Where am I Wearing.”
“’Where am I Wearing’ was about finding the origins for everyday clothes and where they are made and what conditions are the workers in,” Wills said. This year’s book, “Where am I Eating,” is similar in goal but focuses on the produce that is imported into the country.
On Thursday afternoon, students mulched the strawberry garden and the tranquility garden. It took about an hour to do both areas, but it was just one small aspect for a larger picture.
Some of the students who volunteered had experience growing their own produce, so they were able to show students unfamiliar with gardening how to lay down mulch effectively.
“I grew up helping my dad in the garden so I have a strong understanding of what it takes to grow your own produce,” Elizabeth Egwadobi, a senior health care management senior, said. “It is hard work but it is rewarding to have fresh produce that is grown in your own backyard.”
Timmerman’s book also focuses on the humanitarian aspect of foreign produce.
“In the book he also reports on the gross inhumanities the workers have to deal with such as low pay and poor living conditions,” Wills said.
Students who read the book were shocked to find out what the implications of having exotic produce imported here are.
“I never realized what kind of conditions the workers have to deal with just so I can have a banana,” Reghan Jones, a pre-vet freshmen, said. “Coming here today really helped me realize the hard work it takes to maintain a garden.”