Salutatory Signs


As I mentioned in my quick post yesterday, the members of the Haverford Garden Initiative met last night to do some garden advertising, which has been one of our most difficult and important tasks. Over the past few months, one of our major challenges has been getting the word out about the garden. You would think that a garden on a suburban campus would jump out at people, but the contrary is the case. Though we have a flourishing plot, quite a few people still seem to be in the dark about its origin and purpose.

Like most of our technologically savvy peers, our first step in the advertising campaign was to post some information on Haverford’s GO! Boards, an online discussion forum for Haverford Students. From there, we met with John Francone, Haverford’s Director of Dining Services, to plan a huge barbecue for all the kids on campus—if you are around, mark down next Saturday, the 10th at 2pm on your calendar: Garden Party! But, since both of those advertising attempts take time and reach only the student population, we decided to advertise the simple way: painting a sign.

With a pile of wood scraps from Facilities and some cheap paint from Mapes (the local hardware store), a group of us set about creating the signs that will bring the garden message to everyone who walks by. Some of us jumped off to a fast start, making a sign with the HGI hyperlink that looks slightly rustic to say the least. Others of us (the artistically talented few) took our time and painted a gorgeous sign stating “Haverford Student Garden – A Product of the Haverford Garden Initiative.”  In the end, both signs looked excellent when hammered into the ground next to our proud plants.

Yet, what struck me the most about the sign painting experience was not the advertising progress we made. Rather, it was the ease with which the HGI students worked together to accomplish a task. Unlike the highly individualized work we do in school, the garden has taught us to function well as a team, planting seedlings, harvesting produce, and even painting signs. In that sense, the garden truly seems to be fulfilling its role as the space where people can think creatively and act decisively about food and its importance. The garden has become as much about the people involved as it is about the food. At least to me, these friendships (in addition to the food) make the garden seem like a very good thing.

Keep your eyes peeled for more to come on the Garden Party next week. Happy Fourth of July to you all.