For my project in finding community involvement relating to my are of interest, I came across SPROUTS, also known as Students Producing Organics Under the Sun. SPROUTS is a community garden run by volunteers through the office of sustainability at IU. While it is a student run organization, it has a larger goal of reaching out to the greater Bloomington community in hopes to educate and circulate ideas and truths about the state of food production today.
A blurb found here about the garden is chalk full of buzz words. Environment, instability, organic, and food systems, are just a few of the words this organization uses. The general goal is to promote local growing, harvesting, and “autonomy” within the community of Bloomington, and strive to leave behind dependence on industrial globalized food systems.
Indiana University is undoubtedly an enormous operation with thousands of students using its facilities for food daily. One of the interesting disparities I want to further investigate is IU’s large reliance on industrial food industries to keep this operation in progress. Although the office of sustainability is behind works like SPROUTS and other urban garden projects around campus, it is still in major reliance on large scale food services to accomplish its goal.
Despite disparities between student life and student involvement, this is no doubt a great example of an academic institution working within a community to propagate awareness to a new social problem and one that will require greater and greater attention in the future. Industrialized food systems no doubt have their benefit on institutions like IU, yet places like SPROUTS can show sustainable, efficient, and healthy alternatives on top of creativity and expression.