Peace Garden hosts Harvest Festival

Samira Kassem

Senior Thao (Jenny) Le paints a pumpkin at Friday’s Harvest Fest. 
Photo: Illinois Wesleyan University via Facebook 

The Illinois Wesleyan Peace Garden hosted their annual Harvest Fest event last Friday, October 9. 

The outdoor event hosted around 20 people at a time for pumpkin carving and painting, live music and autumn treats– some of which were made with ingredients that came from the Peace Garden’s fall harvest. The Peace Garden is 100 percent student-run organic garden which “prepares beds for planting, waters plants with rain barrels and harvests produce to give to the community via the West Bloomington Revitalization Project (WBRP) or other grocery stores like Green Top and Common Ground,” according to David Werner, one of the garden’s leaders.

The Peace Garden is located at 1212 N. Evans street just outside of Illinois Wesleyan’s Campus. 
Photo: IWU Peace Garden via Facebook

The garden is home to two beehives and a hoop house, a sort of simple greenhouse to keep crops warm in cooler weather, that allows for year-round involvement. 

“The Peace Garden allows me to get reconnected with our local environment and learn about the strengths of local food production. There is nothing better than harvesting the vegetables that you remember planting,” Werner said. 

“The Peace Garden allows me to get reconnected with our local environment and learn about the strengths of local food production. There is nothing better than harvesting the vegetables that you remember planting,” Werner said. 

Along with sharing foods made from the garden’s harvest, Werner said that they wanted the Harvest Fest to have an “autumnal vibe” so they decided to have pumpkins available for painting and carving. 

Attendees were also invited to paint stepping stones that will decorate the sunflower patch that will be planted at the Peace Garden this spring.

The event featured violinist Ethan Schuller, a student at the IWU school of music, who played classic American folk songs on the fiddle while Werner joined in and sang for some of the songs. 

The event was full of “good vibes,” senior John Nairn said. 

“It was wonderful to enjoy the season and the Peace Garden with safe and fun activities,” senior Leah Bieniak said.

“The harvest was a fun way for students to destress and reconnect with their friends along with the outside world,” senior Emily Schirmacher, a member of the executive board, said.  

Senior David Werner said that he loves his work with the Peace Garden and has been very involved during his years at IWU. 
Photo: Illinois Wesleyan University via Facebook 

Even as the weather gets cooler, the garden will continue to remain active. 

“We’ll be planting garlic this coming Sunday, harvesting some greens in several weeks from the hoop house once they are ready, and are looking into getting a chicken coop on the premise,” Werner said. 

For anyone who missed the Harvest Fest but would still like to get involved with the IWU Peace Garden, IWU community members are welcomed to show up on Sundays at 10am or 3pm when they have their weekly workdays. 

Any student interested in getting involved should email [email protected] to add their name to the email list.