Rain may be good for the garden, but last Friday it forced Harvard Divinity School (HDS) to take its Harvest Celebration inside Rockefeller Hall.
The annual fete gathered together students at HDS to feast on seasonal bounty harvested from its own garden. Although it was the sixth such garden party, it was the first time it was held indoors, according to Leslie MacPherson Artinian, the garden project’s staff liaison.
The Harvest Celebration is usually a work party at which guests pull potatoes and plant bulbs like garlic, but the early rain — and the threat of more to come — limited the event to just a party. It included a blessing, an “altar table” overflowing with fresh produce, and music played by third-year HDS student Zach Kerzee and staff member Ralph DeFlorio.
“I think it’s a nice end of the semester,” said Aisha Ansano, a first-year Divinity School student who helps out with the garden whenever her class commitments allow.
The idea for the garden came from an HDS student who presented it to MacPherson Artinian, someone known for her horticultural expertise. Run by students, the garden has grown larger as it’s been passed down from student leader to student leader. Anna Mullen, a second-year HDS student, is the current leader of the garden. In fact, the plot of green was one of the things that drew her to the School, she said.
“My favorite thing is that I can study and think and then get out there and put my hands in the soil and be a part of it,” Mullen said.
The garden raises food for the Faith Kitchen at Faith Lutheran Church in Cambridge, which serves free meals on the second and last Tuesdays of every month, as well as other community groups that need fresh produce. “We serve both our community and a wider community, too,” MacPherson Artinian said.
Growing a garden is never without its challenges. Over the summer Mullen fended off squirrels, rabbits, and even wild turkeys. “Our garden is their personal salad bar,” she said.
Yet even with the critters, she enjoyed working the garden. “It creates friendship and community, with people and with the Earth, too,” she said.