How Living in a Theme House Brought Me Closer to the Canton Community
By the time I was a junior at St Lawrence, I thought I knew everything there is to know about Canton and met most of the people I was going to meet at SLU. But after moving into the Greenhouse my junior fall, I learned there were so many more places and people that make Canton, and St. Lawrence, special.
Let's backtrack a little. The Greenhouse is one of SLU's many theme houses which are residences for upperclassmen where students live and coordinate activities for the campus community centered around a particular theme. It's the mission of the Greenhouse to promote low-impact living, and we host cool events like Pumpkin Palooza in the fall and Folk Fest in the spring.
We also cook vegetarian meals five nights a week, and in non-COVID times, we invite campus community members to dine with us Monday through Thursday! We have a CSA (community shared agriculture) with Birdsfoot Farm which is just down the road from St. Lawrence. This means we get boxes and boxes of fresh veggies for cooking every week. What's really cool, though, is that we only pay half of the price because we work at the farm and get to hang out with Dulli (who runs Birdsfoot) to pay for the rest. What could be better than digging in the dirt for sunchokes and potatoes, planting garlic, or harvesting onions and then getting to take them home to eat?!
One of the best parts of farming at Birdsfoot is getting to know the people who live and work there. Dulli, who has worked at Birdsfoot for 30 years, is originally from Germany and went to farming college there. She always has so many interesting stories to tell and loves hearing about our experiences at St. Lawrence. She also sends us an email newsletter with fantastic updates about the farm and, more importantly, her two cows, Carol and Goldie.
While Birdsfoot is a very special part of the Greenhouse experience others in the St. Lawrence community can go hang with Dulli too in non-COVID times! Many courses at St. Lawrence have a Community Based Learning (CBL) component where students get a volunteer placement and get to work there as part of their course credit. There are lots of cool opportunities of which Birdsfoot is just one. You can also catch up with Dulli and get some yummy Birdsfoot veggies at the Canton farmers market, which runs from May until October.
Getting to go to Birdsfoot each week is a great way to get off campus and to really experience a part of Canton that I never would have otherwise. Farming at Birdsfoot and living in the Greenhouse are such unique SLU experiences that I feel very lucky to have stumbled upon during my time here.