Students slacklined, danced and sprawled out on blankets last Friday on the rugby field. The music of student bands playing as they enjoyed freshly harvested food with their friends at the second annual Harvest Festival.
All the vegetables were grown in the campus garden and harvested by members of the Garden Club the Wednesday before. Food was prepared by the chefs of Clinton Dining Hall. It took six months for enough food for the festival to grow in the garden. Everyone was encouraged to bring their own plates and cutlery to reduce waste.
The garden club donates vegetables they grow to the Town of Plattsburgh Food Pantry, about once a week.
“It’s been nice to be able to share with people. Obviously because they need food, but also to get them food that is fresh, organic and healthy,” Monica Warren, a senior nutrition major and president of the Garden Club said. “That’s just a part of food justice. People of a lower socioeconomic class have more health problems and a big part of that is because they can’t afford healthy food.”
Monica has been the president of the Garden Club for two years, but was the treasurer when the club was called Food Group Club.
“I’ve always had a love affair with the garden.” Warren said.
The first festival was the brain-child of Sam Gibney, a senior expeditionary studies major, and Elise Baer, the head of the campus garden at the time.
“Im very involved in music around here so my friends run the garden and they wanted to have an event that would promote the garden and let more students know about it,” Gibney said. “I organize live shows fairly often so we sort of just joined forces to promote local food and promote the garden while also providing a fun daytime music festival.”
The first group to perform was the Cardinal Pickers, the music department’s bluegrass ensemble. It is made up of eight to 10 students playing stringed instruments. The group plays gigs regularly, mostly at community events.
Kim Leclair and Lucas Haight, a folk duo played next followed by the Wickmoore Jazz Trio, a group of three students. They have been playing together for about a year now and play three or more times a week at venues such as Irises Cafe & Wine Bar, local golf courses and weddings.
A jam band called Jaem played next, mixing hip-hop, jazz and funk with laid back female vocals. The festival was closed by the Hasbeens a jam band Gibney is a member of.
“ We all met here when we were freshmen,” Gibney said. “And we’ve played at the Monopole a fair amount we mostly play at house parties.”
The Cardinal Pickers, the Wickmoore Trio and the Hasbens all performed at the first Harvest Fest. Gibney says there are plenty of local musicians they could have paid to play but chose to wanted the line-up to consist of students because of how well it went last year when they had no funds so the entire process was supported by volunteers. This year they got a budget that they used for the canopy tent and a Porta Potty. Gibney built the stage himself the night before.
“I think it’s really nice to incorporate student involvement with community involvement,” Tim Nolan, a student currently taking a semester off and former president of the campus garden. “I think this is the perfect blend of it. And with the battle of Plattsburgh events going on, I think this is kind of a complement to that.”
Platty Slack brought slacklines to the festival and set them up for attendees to use between two trees in ear range of the music.
“This kind of event is very exciting to me in terms of combining something that feels productive and good-natured,” Gibney said. “Not just like we’ve got privilege let’s party which I feel like is a lot of life in America sometimes especially in universities.”