The Edible Campus Eater's Digest

October 18, 2021
Edible Campus UNC is a program of the North Carolina Botanical Garden that creates working landscapes across UNC-Chapel Hill to facilitate campus community engagement in topics of food and agriculture sustainability. 
Gardening and Mental Health
Over the past week, I reflected on what has been helpful for my mental health in the past year. Throughout the pandemic, many of us have not been able to spend time with friends or family or visit the places we usually go to enjoy ourselves. Time and time again, I've been reminded that nature is a constant. I visited a local park almost every day last year when our classes were completely remote, which helped me through the worst of the pandemic physically and mentally. I also got involved with Edible Campus in the Fall of 2020, which had profound effects on my mental health. I listened to many other students at the workdays share the same sentiments, which we bonded over. Last week, I wondered whether there is scientific evidence that gardening is good for mental health. What I found was that horticultural therapy has a long history of producing cost-effective mental and physical health benefits for people. Here's a brief overview of how gardening can improve your mental health:
1. Gardening gives us cognitive benefits of enhanced mood, reduced stress, and improved concentration (NT Contributor, 2008).

2. The phenomenon of hope: sometimes, when we are struggling with our mental health, particularly depression, we have little to hope for. Participating in gardening, which is essentially based on the practice of hope, may well be highly therapeutic (NT Contributor, 2008). 

3. Gardening helps us relax and let go: the rhythmic nature of many tasks associated with horticulture – weeding, trimming, sowing, sweeping – allows thoughts to ebb and flow along with our movements (Rayner, 2015). Taking a few hours out of an especially busy week to do some work in the garden is extremely helpful for me, allowing me to clear my thoughts and leave with a fresh perspective on the assignments I'm stuck on. 

4. Working in nature releases serotonin and dopamine (hormones that make us feel good), and lowers our levels of cortisol (a hormone associated with stress) (Rayner, 2015). 

5. Becoming one with the plants and flowers in the garden, even only for a couple of hours, reminds us to live in the present moment (Rayner, 2015). This can be extremely helpful for those who struggle with anxiety about the future. 
Fall 2021 Team Intros
Edible Campus is thrilled to have a large team of talented and passionate students working with on leadership team this semester. We will be introducing each team member in our newsletters for the next few weeks. This installment will feature Morgan Flynt and Michael Dorgan!
Morgan is a senior majoring in Environmental Studies and Philosophy. Morgan is interested in practicing environmental law and writing legal philosophy around environmental and social justice. Morgan is one of Edible Campus' work-study students. She works on the garden and education team and produces the Edible Campus Eater's Digest biweekly newsletter.

"I got involved with Edible Campus in Fall 2020. Working in the gardens was crucial for my mental well-being throughout the year of remote learning. My favorite part about working at Edible Campus is watching things grow, whether that's the plants, our team, or projects spearheaded by student interns--it's a wonderful feeling when I see the results of all of our hard work." 
Michael is a senior majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science, with a minor in Food Studies. Michael's professional interests include Environmental Education and Wildlife Conservation. Michael is the Student Organization President and Student Engagement Intern for Edible Campus.

"I got involved in Edible Campus fall of my first year through an APPLES course! I fell in love with serving the campus community by growing food right on UNC's campus. I have enjoyed learning about where my food comes from and working to combat food insecurity among college students. My favorite part of working with Edible Campus is sharing the mental health benefits of getting outside and working in nature!"

Workday Updates

Thanks to our workday volunteers, in the past two weeks, we have planted strawberries in some of the satellite gardens, transitioned several main garden beds from summer to fall, planted seeds, and have taken satellite garden soil samples for our annual fall soil testing!  Volunteers also helped us harvest and donate 28 pounds of produce last week! This is hard work that we could not do without you. Thank you! 


Our workdays this semester are every Monday and the occasional Thursday from 3:00-5:00 pm @ the Main Edible Campus Garden behind Davis Library.
Follow this link to sign up and prepare to get your hands (or garden gloves) dirty!

Stay tuned for special workdays happening soon! Each Fall, we have a sweet potato harvest day and a couple of fall planting days. These will be fun workdays that you won't want to miss! 


Stay up to date with what we are working on and receive updates about workdays by following our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Carolina Cookbook

Did you know in Spring and Summer 2020, the Edible Campus team, in partnership with Carolina Cupboard and APPLES, created Carolina Cookbook: A College Student's Guide to Healthy, Affordable & Seasonal Eating at Carolina? The cookbook contains quick, healthy meals that can be made using ingredients you can obtain from Carolina Cupboard and/or the Edible Campus gardens. The first recipe that will be featured in the Edible Campus Eater's Digest contains ingredients that are in season right now!
For more healthy, affordable and seasonal recipes, consult the
Carolina Cookbook!

Did you know Edible Campus accepts compost donations at the Main Garden behind Davis Library?  Your food waste will be converted into usable compost for our Main Garden and satellite beds once it is finished curing. Be sure to deposit your food waste in the active bin! 

Not sure what you can compost?
Here is a good article about composting.


NCBG Edibles and Ethnobotany Classes

Interested in learning about ethnobotany? Below are some upcoming classes. We hope to see you there! 

11/3/2021: Foodscaping with Native Plants: Cool Season Edition with Brie Arthur
Thoughtful design and management of landscapes is more important than ever as concerns of climate, water quality and invasive plants increase. Brie will discuss how to create a cool season foodscape using native plants mixed food crops. The best organic products are featured and easy, earth friendly maintenance strategies are highlighted. Learn about native edible plants and the pollinators they attract that aid in ecological restoration. Get inspired to see the potential every landscape offers by transforming them into purposeful spaces that embrace solutions to modern day landscape practices.
Register here:

11/13/2021: Winter Holiday Cards and Tags: Watercolor and Mixed Media
Join nurse-artist and botanical illustrator Beverly Dyer for this expressive painting workshop where we will make beautiful hand-painted holiday cards and tags. Art Prescription workshops are designed to encourage creativity with a dose of art to promote wellness and give the immune system a boost. Have fun, reduce holiday stress, and let the muse play! Each participant will leave with 5 holiday cards + envelopes and 5 tags for gifts or place settings. Cards + envelopes provided; bring your favorite watercolor paint and brushes, a medium-size round brush, and a palette. All levels welcome!
Register here:

What's Growing?

Graham - rosemary, lavender, chives, basil
Stacy -  oregano, rosemary, lavender, sage, winter savory, basil, eggplant, figs
Davis -  stevia, mint, mountain mint, catmint, lemon balm, chamomile, lavender
Lenoir - rosemary, tomatoes, basil, figs, peppers
Fetzer - sweet potatoes
Rams -  okra, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, basil
Hardin - oregano, lavender, sage, chives, figs, peppers
SASB - lavender, eggplant, peppers

Coming soon! Stay tuned for our Fall plants!

Brought to you by the Edible Campus Team:
Kyle Parker - Edible Campus Coordinator

Garden Management Team:
Kathryn Obenshain '21
Becca Beechhold '21
Morgan Flynt '22
Leanna Mahle '23
Tatum Pryor '24

Communications Team:
Michael Dorgan '22
Molly Hanna '22
Olivia Griffith '22
Emily Martin '23
Katie McKinnon '24
Kaylee Nguyen '25

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Edible Campus is grateful for your support to help us keep serving our community during this important time.
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Edible Campus UNC
North Carolina Botanical Garden
University of North Carolina, CB 3375
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

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