Xavier turned another shade of green this year when it hired Urban Greens, an urban farm business, to convert an acre of land adjacent to campus into a working vegetable farm.
Kevin Fitzgerald, a 2006 philosophy, politics and the public grad, is its part-owner and became Xavier’s first farmer in the flesh. He began work on the farm last July, restoring the land that once sat under a box factory.
Truckloads of hot compost and a layer of topsoil had to be hauled in and left to “cook” over the winter. Greens, beets and radishes were planted for fall harvesting.
Fitzgerald also gave lectures about farming, gardening and sustainability to undergraduate classes during the fall, but has handed his farming duties to another member of Urban Greens, which continues to provide farming expertise for Xavier’s growing number of sustainability and environmental majors now topping 50.
The farm includes a hoop house made of circular pipes covered with plastic sheeting that protects plants growing inside during the winter. Neither lasted long during this particularly harsh season, especially after much of the plastic was stripped away by an icy windstorm in February. The hoop house is being restored this spring with a donation of new sheeting.