Virginia Tech herb garden thrives

Oct. 8—An herb garden planted by Dining Services at 29,000-student Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is now supplying herbs to a shop in one of the university’s food courts.

The garden supplies herbs such as chives, basil, oregano and thyme that are used in the recipes for the Farms and Fields Project shop, a dining venue that serves locally sourced, organic and sustainably grown food for lunch and dinner.

The garden is located at Kentland Farm, a 400-acre farm in McCoy, which provides assistance for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences research and teaching. Dining Services staff and student, staff and faculty volunteers tend the garden. Since the garden was planted last spring, more than 75 pounds of herbs have been harvested.

“I’m very impressed with how many students jumped at the opportunity to volunteer,” Rachael Budowle, sustainability coordinator for Dining Services, said in a press release. “Almost all of them have already indicated they’re interested in returning and volunteering again. The students have talked extensively about sustainability and food issues throughout the harvest today; they are really learning something through this experience."

The Farms and Fields Project uses the majority of the herbs but plans are underway to flash freeze or dry herbs for future use. There are also plans to start growing more substantial crops such as organic vegetables.