by Juliette Torres
Kipos, Whitworth’s garden club, was created after an inspiring speech titled “What Would You Do to Change the World?” had been presented in an international relations course. Over the summer, members of the group spent close to 10 hours a week tending the garden on the corner of Wellen Lane and Hawthorne Road and the club was officially chartered in February 2012.
“The purpose of the club was to promote sustainability and awareness about what good it can do to educate others about it,” said club president, sophomore Dana Le Roy. “It’s basically action-oriented towards getting others to grow their own food.”
The club has recently been harvesting its vegetables and put on a harvest festival for Whitworth students Sept. 23. The gathering of people was presented with freshly made pesto, juice, jam and other goods to enjoy. Some of the crowd favorites were the carrots and raspberry jam. About 40-50 students, both club members and non-members, joined in on the festivities, which included live music from Austen and Ian Case and Cold Mountain Yeti. Guests were encouraged to BYOBAM (Bring Your Own Blanket and Mug) in order to join in on the giant picnic.
Currently, the club’s meetings draw around 10-30 students and the group is hoping to expand membership. When the group first started, Kipos had a very small patch of land. Since, the garden has tripled in size. Plans for expansion include building a community garden for those living off-campus. One of the primary future plans of Kipos is to create an orchard in the Back 40.
Sophomore Joy Attaway went to the first meeting and has returned every week since.
“It’s really been wonderful to see the garden literally grow,” she said.
Sophomore Michelle Youngblom, the club’s vice president, is optimistic that the mission of the group will be successfully passed down to future generations of students. She said she hopes it will thrive long after she and Le Roy have graduated.
Another goal is to functionally house chickens for eggs, goats for milk and cheese, and bees for honey. Youngblom is currently looking into hydroponics, a method of growing plants in a water and nutrient solution without soil, so that food can be grown in the winter as well.
The advisor of Kipos, Matthew Baker, resident director of Ballard, McMillan and Cornerstone, said his focus is encouraging leadership and also helping with problems. Baker grew up on a farm and knows how and when to plant certain foods.
Since the group has been chartered, Kipos has donated 40 pounds of harvested food to a local food bank and hopes even more people will be involved in the future.
Contact Juliette Torres at firstname.lastname@example.org.