Get Real. Food.

Last October, despite frozen ground, numb fingers, and dripping hats, a group of passionate students started a community garden behind Massell. After just seven months, we now have delicious veggies growing in over 100 square feet. You probably didn’t know a community garden even existed here, did you? Well, now is your chance to get involved – tomorrow afternoon from 1-3 we’re having a Real Food Eat-Out!  You can do some garden work, eat real food, and discuss the role we play in the food system.  We’ll also have a taste test with milk from a local farm!

As a child, I never realized how privileged I was to walk out my front door, meander barefoot across the dandelion-laden grass into the steaming greenhouse to pick a tomato (and eat it, of course).  I did similarly with peas, carrots, beans, lettuce, chives, plums, strawberries, apples…the list goes on.  I can still feel the dirt rising between my toes as I reached for that plump, sugar-snap pea taunting me from the top of the trellis.

I never refuted my friends when they called me a hippie-child, but I’ve grown to firmly disagree. My parents have invested in the land and experimented for over a decade now, each year pushing the boundaries of how much zucchini will fit in the fridge and how many apples will fit in the dehydrator. They were never discouraged by clay-like dirt or the multitude of aphids, slugs, rabbits, and deer who treated our garden as if it were Sherman. I, too, reaped the benefits of the garden quite often – despite my parents’ pleas, a few mint leaves or a sprig of fennel became an almost routine snack on my way to school.

I grew fond of the joy and pleasure from eating fresh, local, organic produce. I can’t even remember a time when I wasn’t in love with the taste of a fresh-picked tomato. I adore the sweet tang of the skin, juice and seeds bursting out of each pocket into my welcoming mouth.

Most consumers experience just this – we eat food, and are aware of what our taste buds prefer and the relative price. On the Brandeis campus, many share a vague idea that terms such as “organic,” “natural,” and “cage-free” are somehow better. However, we’re still infinitely detached from our food.

If you’re fed up (no pun intended) with any aspect of the food system, join us in the Patchwork Garden community between the Chapels and Massell Quad.

You’re always free to meander barefoot across the mowed grass to admire the fruits (and veggies!) of our labor, but tomorrow we’re having a special garden bash. You can water, weed, construct raised beds, beautify the shed, plant seedlings, eat real food and witness our garden and community grow! We’ll be feasting on stir-fried swiss chard, salad, and fresh-baked bread. We welcome any contributions from point surplus – try to bring real food items such as local SoCo ice cream!

If you want to fight for honest labels and transparency, want to know the ingredients in our food, or don’t want to deal with the intricacies of corporate labels, join us.

If you long for that perfectly crisp and tangy apple, the indulgent whiff of a tomato vine, sweet peach juice dribbling down your chin, or a candy-sweet crunchy carrot from a farm down the road, join us.

If you want to push Brandeis to follow through with our climate commitment and reduce carbon emissions, join us.

If you wish to consume products from animals who were treated ethically, choose to not eat animal products at all, or are concerned about corporate consolidation, join us.

If you want to help workers earn a living wage, join us.

Although as a child I didn’t realize the weight of my actions, I’ve come to greatly appreciate the values my parents exposed me to. If you share some of these values, please join our community. We don’t bite, except into delicious food.

Posthumous Advice from Howard Zinn

Editor’s Note: We’re clearing out the Innermost Parts vaults, posting several articles that were completed a while ago but got overlooked and were never published.  Here’s the first, from Amy Bea, written in early February in the wake of Howard Zinn’s death.

As I sat at the recovery table after donating blood the other day, I decided to open the most recent issue of The Nation. Inside I discovered an article about Obama’s first presidential year. Many contributors wrote short reflections on his presidency thus far, including the late Howard Zinn.

He states, “I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president–which means, in our time, a dangerous president–unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.”

Not only does that call for action apply to our nation, but to Brandeis as well. As students, we must unite if we want to push Brandeis in a positive direction. Go to Jehuda’s office hours. Email Andy Hogan and tell him what you think. Come to the potluck in the Castle Commons this Sunday, 5-8, to discuss what students can do about budget cuts. Attend the Constitutional Review town hall meetings. Buy a megaphone and yell out a window. Protest. Talk with people.

DO SOMETHING. But for Brandeis’ sake, don’t just sit there and watch this institution go down the drain.