What Goes On in the Garden?

By Annie Newman, Staff Writer

Even in October, the garden that sits next to the Student Olsen Center is teeming with life. Brilliant flowers bloom, vegetables ripen, and bees take pollen to ready themselves for winter. Students mill about, especially those that are in the “Dig It: Gardening for Change” class hosted by student advisor and teacher Gretchen Legler.

“What we do is we read people who are writing about how we need to change the way we grow food in America and across the world to make it less fossil-fuel dependent– so how we need to change the way we grow food and how we change the way we make food available to people,” Legler explained.

As well as reading and studying methods of change, students also work in the garden and donate the produce to put their lessons into practice. “We’ve worked in the garden, we planted things, we’ve nurtured things, we harvested things, and delivered them to [Saint Joseph’s] Nutrition Center, which is just up the street and is a free place for people to go 24/7 to get nutritious fresh food,” Legler said. St. Joseph’s Nutrition Center is also available to students.

Those that were on campus before the garden arrived may remember the Creative Writing building that stood next to the Student Olsen Center. But how did the garden come to be? “The garden was made possible by a grant from something called the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust,” Legler said. “It’s a Boston-based organization that likes to fund projects that help change the world for the better with an environmental focus. All of the wood here, the topsoil, the seeds, the greenhouse– it all was because of that grant.”

Legler has also detailed the different kinds of vegetables, herbs and flowers being grown in the garden: catnip, gourds, marigolds and more. “All of the work that has been done in this garden has been done by students. All of the building of the beds, the filling the beds with soil, starting all the plants, planting everything, taking care of it over the summer– it’s all been done by students,” Legler noted. Though deer have been nibbling at the growth that has been uncovered by the netting, the garden is considered a great success.

“I want people to know that they can come to the garden anytime and enjoy it,” Legler added. Most of the produce is reserved for food banks such as St. Joseph’s Nutrition Center and soon the Thrifty Beaver, but the garden is a good place to look at the growth and “rejuvenate your soul,” as Legler puts it.

If you are interested in an apprenticeship or work-study around the garden, contact Gretchen Legler at: gretchen.legler@maine.edu.

Indigenous Peoples’ Week

By Ashley Ward, Secretary and Assistant Editor

University of Maine at Farmington conducted a week of events surrounding issues affecting the Indigenous communities within Maine as a response to Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 11. Several of the days following the holiday featured a different event dedicated to spreading awareness amongst the UMF community and members of the public.

Monday’s event on October 11 consisted of a virtual teach-in, where attendees were offered the chance to observe three short films: “The Penobscot: Ancestral River, Contested Territory”, “The Saga Continues”, and “Kihtahkomikumon (Our Land) – #IslandBack in Passamaquoddy Territory”. More information about these short films and links to watch them can be found at https://www.umf.maine.edu/diat/indigenous-peoples-week/.

The event held on Wednesday, October 13, was a comprehensive presentation and discussion on the meaning and significance of #LandBack, as well as water rights and decolonization within Wabanaki territory. The discussion was moderated by Executive Director of Bomazeen Land Trust Mali Obomsawin and Sunlight Media Collective member Lokotah Sanborn. The presentation was held by Penobscot Nation member Dawn Neptune Adams and Maine Indian Land Claims historian Maria Giouard. Together, the four speakers represent Penobscot and Abenaki communities, as well as Wabanaki led organizations.

Adams and Giouard discussed waste mismanagement in areas near to Penobscot and Passamaquoddy lands, the legal proceedings surrounding land claims, and current water quality issues at length during Wednesday’s event. Adams cautions that future wars will be fought over water, rather than oil.

“We protect the water, not for ourselves, but for the next seven generations,” Adams said.

On the evening of Thursday, October 14, an event was held on the Mantor Green by UMF College Democrats President Celia Canavan about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Students led a teach-in about this transgression and asked attendees to wear red as a sign of solidarity. A poster circulated by the UMF College Democrats states: “Their fight is our fight.”

 

A presentation and discussion was led on Friday, October 15, by Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Maine Darren J. Ranco of Penobscot Nation. Ranco discussed decolonization at campus level and what that entails, as well as how it affects members of the UMF community. Ranco also introduced the topic of Traditional Knowledge Labels and their importance within Indigenous communities.

 

During Indigenous Peoples’ Week at UMF, an Indigenous Land and Water Acknowledgement was unveiled. Written by Obomsawin and Ranco, UMF’s Indigenous Land and Water Acknowledgement addresses the history of the space the UMF campus occupies and the effects of colonization on surrounding lands and their people.

For more information about the events, the presenters, or UMF’s Indigenous Land and Water Acknowledgement, visit the site found at: https://www.umf.maine.edu/2021/10/umf-recognizes-indigenous-peoples-day-with-week-of-events-exploring-issues-vital-to-the-wabanaki-people/.

UMF Introduces Wellness Weeks

By Paige Lusczyk, contributing writer

The Well-Being Committee has created an eight-week program, Wellness Weeks, promoting wellbeing in five main categories: physical, social, emotional, occupational, and nutritional. Open registration began on Sept. 27 and will run until Nov. 21. Going into week three of the program, registration is still offered to any students, faculty, or staff.

Unlike last semester’s Wellness Challenge, Wellness Weeks follows a more personal path in accomplishing goals.  The Wellness Challenge drew in people who were more social and competitive as you could compare your wellbeing score. Wellness Weeks still has a weekly raffle and a grand prize raffle as an extra incentive.

“[The Well-Being Committee] wanted to focus a lot more on the individual,” the Chair of the Well-Being Committee, Ben White said.

The Wellness Weeks program has the person fill out a long-term goal according to one to five of the categories that they want to better in. The program structures around the layout of S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) with one larger goal with smaller goals leading up to it.

Some long term goals like social or emotional goals are not always measurable and do not exactly follow the S.M.A.R.T. goals layout. “They are not really judged. [the Well-Being Committee] are really leaving it up to the participants,” White said.

 

It is mentioned in the form that any unhealthy goals like losing too much weight in a short period of time will be addressed but White stated that “[the Well-Being Committee] didn’t have to reach out to anyone” and White was “really really happy with what people came up with.”

The Well-Being Committee checks in with those who have registered every Monday to see if they completed their weekly goal and put them into the raffle for the week. The prizes include $25 gift cards to local businesses, Mainely Outdoor Gear Rental, and a Fitness Design from the FRC. There are two grand prizes valuing up to $100.

White realized there were a lot of ways that UMF’s community could advance their wellbeing. White created these programs and the Well-Being Committee to create such opportunities and give the community an extra boost of support.

“Times are hard for a lot of people right now and engaging in well-being practices and activities can help people in a lot of different ways that I view that they could use some help,” White said.

Being part of the UMF community is not just about getting a degree or working. It is important to also ask “were they happy? did they thrive?” White said. “I wanted to contribute to that portion.”

Wellness Weeks will continue to accept new participants. The registration form can be found on MyCampus → Campus Life → Wellbeing. All information will be forwarded to late participants so they are caught up to speed. The only downside to starting late is the possibility of not being entered into the grand prize raffle.

The Well-Being Committee is currently looking for student representatives as well to bring new ideas for future programs. Please reach out to umfwellbeing@maine.edu if you are interested.

Commuters Fight COVID-19

By Sophia Turgeon, contributing writer.

Since March of 2020, COVID has impacted everybody at UMF drastically, including commuters. In fact, the effects of COVID have affected commuters very differently than it may have affected on-campus students.

After returning to campus in fall 2020, on-campus students had a lot of expectations including social distancing, wearing masks, sheltering in place, getting tested, and keeping social circles on campus small that consisted only of Farmington community members.

Commuters had guidelines that weren’t as strict, but may have suffered more in the grand scheme of things.

Tom Tubman, sophomore here at UMF, feels as though he hasn’t had the opportunity to build a community inside the UMF campus and feels detached as a whole.  “It’s definitely made things a lot harder than I expected. Building a community has essentially been a non-starter since I live so far away from campus. Until this semester, I spent a majority of my time around campus hanging out in my car because my sister is immunocompromised,” Tubman said.

Luckily with COVID restrictions loosening up, Tubman has been feeling much safer. With that being said, Tubman’s 2021 fall semester has been a lot better than the previous semester. “Since so much of the campus population is vaccinated I feel much more comfortable being around on campus. I feel a lot more engrossed in my classes and overall have enjoyed college much more this year than I did last year,” Tubman said.

Morgan Rogers, junior at UMF, has had some similar experiences with commuting that Tubman had. “Between driving to campus for some classes, but not all, I’d say that there were some negative effects, mostly my connection and immersion in those classes,” Rogers said.

From a different standpoint, Rogers feels as though the COVID restrictions placed upon students this semester haven’t been as drastic, but is excited to be back in the classroom. “The restrictions haven’t been all that impactful, for me, apart from having in-person classes again. That has helped hold my interest and allowed for in depth studies while in class. An interesting side effect from the covid-restrictions was a better class experience when we had to limit the number of students in a class. That meant that a professor was able to have more thorough interactions with fewer students at a time,” Rogers noted.

Though UMF has handled the harsh reality  of COVID to the best of their abilities, Tubman believes that the restrictions put on who is allowed to visit campus are not as flexible as he’d like. “I’ve got a few friends at Orono and they want to come visit UMF, but they haven’t been able to since they aren’t a UMF student,” Tubman said.

Rogers however, found that though the accommodations were understandable, he felt as though there should have been more communication on where commuters should go between classes while waiting.  “I found that their accommodations were acceptable. However, one thing that I would have asked for was more clarity as to where commuting students could be when on campus but not in class. I didn’t know that we had a commuter lounge until part way through last semester,” Rogers said.

Hopefully as the school year progresses, restrictions will lessen and commuters will feel more welcome on campus.

 

The Bite Me Beaver – October 2021

Dear Beaver, I really want to eat the mushrooms growing on campus. They look so tasty!!! But all of the mushroom guides say that it will kill me if I take one bite and I’ll bleed out because I’m a horrible forager and I deserve it. Help, – Mushroom Girl

Dear Mushroom Girl, I have good news! I saw in a movie once that poison only hurts you if you have too much of it. But that’s certainly not a good reason to have just a little bit of the forbidden fruit. Eventually your body will build up a tolerance to the poison and you’ll be able to have more and more mushroom! Or you’ll slowly die an agonizing death. One of the two. Either way, just remember that  eating poisonous things only makes you a horrible forager if you are trying not to be poisoned! If you are trying to be poisoned then that makes you a great forager!

 

Dear Bite: My friends told me the moon was full a couple days ago so I went to peek, but when I went outside everything started to hurt and I got really dizzy. I think I might’ve fainted. I’m fine now, but I woke up at 6 a.m. in the swamp behind the FRC and none of my friends are speaking to me anymore. I thought I heard something about Animal Control? Why are they being so distant? — ONCE BITTEN 

Dear Bitten, First of all, Don’t panic. We don’t really know what happened, which means that we have to treat this like the scientists that we are. First, get a nice friend that doesn’t mind being in the line of fire of science. Then, look at the moon again. Repeat this tactic until you manage to get a straight answer out of someone concerning what the heck is going on. I mean, it’s not like you have some horrible condition that will hurt loads of people until you figure that exact question out, right?

 

Dear Bite, Sometimes, like a mewling bird in the wild, I yearn for crumbs of sustenance from my mother’s vomit. However, I am not a young bird, yet rather a poor Beaver at UMF who simply desires the warm, intimate touch of a grilled cheese sandwich. Alas, the dining hall at this campus cannot provide even that much. The closest thing they have are these sandwich melts that are like a grilled cheese but with meat. Oh, woe is me! What am I to do? -Grilled Cheesy 

Dear Cheesy, I sympathize with your plight. It actually boggles my small beaver mind that Sodexo is somehow incapable of making such a basic recipe. I could forgive them if this didn’t happen every time, or even if there was some kind of rotation schedule in play, but it seems that Sodexo have literally forgotten how to make grilled cheese the normal way. They just slap whatever meat they have on hand in the thing and call it a day. As for advice, the only way we win this is by showing Sodexo what they are taking from us. And by that I mean literally showing them by dressing up as a giant grilled cheese and protesting the thoughtless addition of meat products in an otherwise perfectly good sandwich. We march until Cheesy justice is fulfilled.