On a recent baking hot, morning at the Bowdoin Organic Garden plot on Harpswell Road, Daniel Castro Bonilla ’17 could be found on his hands and knees cutting cilantro and bunching it up to sell at the farmers’ market that afternoon. Bonilla, an Asian studies and religion major, is one of two student interns who have spent the summer working at the garden, which is operated by, and supplies food for Bowdoin Dining Services.
“This is my first gardening experience,” said Bonilla. “I decided I wanted to feel more connected to the food production process. I realized that for so long I was just consuming food with no thought to how it was made.” Bonilla, who’s from Honduras, said the act of eating a vegetable has assumed more significance for him since he started tending the garden. “When I eat a corn on the cob for instance, I’m aware of the time and effort it takes to produce it, so I’m a lot more appreciative.”
Katherine Kirk ’18 is the other intern. She’s worked in community gardens back home in New Hampshire, and in the fall she will act as garden liaison with the school. She said she finds horticulture “good for the soul.” She and Bonilla have been working here four days a week throughout the summer. “We usually harvest in the morning and plant in the afternoon. We have other projects too: for example right now we’re making a picnic table,” said Kirk, who’s planning to major in government and Spanish. “We grow a lot of diverse vegetables, including tomatoes, zucchini, different types of peppers, corn, the list goes on.”
In all, around thirty different varieties of vegetables and fruit are grown on campus, most of them on two plots totaling nearly half an acre, said garden supervisor Jeremy Tardif.