S.O.S. teams with AIDS Foundation

Iconic movie star Audrey Hepburn once said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow,” and the members of Trinity’s Students Organized for Sustainability have taken that idea to heart.  This year, S.O.S. is teaming up with the San Antonio AIDS Foundation to start a community garden that will benefit people in the San Antonio community living with HIV/AIDS.

“Dr. Alfred Montoya of the anthropology department and the director of the S.A. AIDS Foundation approached junior Lauren Davis and me to ask if we were interested in helping start a community garden at the Foundation, and we jumped on it,” said junior Nikita Viswasam. “The AIDS foundation kitchen serves meals every day of the year to their residents and the greater community and want  to grow their own produce to use in that kitchen.”

S.O.S. located a space that receives a significant amount of daylight right outside the kitchen at the AIDS Foundation, and they are hoping to build three different garden beds, each measuring three feet by six feet by one foot. The team plans to plant a variety of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, peas, beets and spinach.

“The S.A. Foundation offers a meal program to anyone in San Antonio area that has HIV/AIDS, and last year they handed out something like 49,000 meals, so they’re feeding a lot of people,” Davis said. “They also work in collaboration with the San Antonio Food Bank to offer workshops for their clients on how to eat an organic diet that’s tailored to someone with their health condition.”

At this point in the project, the members of S.O.S. are designing a tentative budget and timeline and are focusing on obtaining recycled and donated materials to build the beds, which will make the project more sustainable and cut down on the cost of the garden. In addition, Kelly Lyons, associate professor of biology, is letting various members of S.O.S. use her greenhouse on the roof of the Center for Sciences and Innovation to germinate seeds for the project, which will allow the team to plant seeds later in the season than normal.

“The community garden is very much an extension of S.O.S’ values,” said junior Laura Prentice. “We do everything organic, and the garden is a way to teach people about an alternative way of thinking about living and eating in general.”

S.O.S combined with the Garden Club this year and has a greater goal of promoting environmental awareness to the Trinity population. Along with the collaborative garden with the S.A. AIDS Foundation, S.O.S. recently kicked off their “Bag the Plastic” campaign, which promotes reducing  plastic consumption.

“At S.O.S., we are interested in bringing students together to learn about and raise awareness on both global and local environmental issues and what it means to live sustainably,” Viswasam said. “We are in the process of organizing several volunteer programs to connect Trinity students with the San Antonio community.  We also run Trinity’s campus organic community garden outside of  Storch with the goal of selling our produce or donating it to local food pantries; it is also a great way for students to learn about what it takes to grow food, which ties back into sustainable living.”