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Get to know your farmer: Rose Madden

Monday, Sep. 9, 2013

Rose Madden, SCU's organic garden manager at The Forge Garden, has expanded outreach to the campus community through actions such as more visiting hours and monthly garden workshops. In addition, Rose recently initiated Friday Farm Stands (11:30 AM - 1:30 PM) at the garden. Aside from harvesting produce for the local San Jose family kitchen, Loaves & Fishes, garden volunteers also pick fruits and vegetables for campus members every week. The farm stand operates on a donation-based system in which all proceeds go towards The Forge and Bronco Urban Gardens (BUG) educational programs.

Since Rose joined SCU in November 2012, over 150 events occurred at the Forge--including volunteer workdays, courses using the Forge as a living laboratory, department gatherings, and gardening workshops.

The Horseshoe, the garden's e-newsletter written by Rose and Olivia Benson, Sustainability Intern for the Forge Garden, debuted this summer. It features the history of the garden location, a gardener spotlight and seasonal gardening news and tips. Read below for a preview of e-newsletter article, "Meet the Farmer: Rose Madden." 

The Horseshoe: Tell us about yourself and your gardening experience.
Rose: I am from a small town in Massachusetts. I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors, especially in the backyard. After graduating high school I worked for a landscaping company. This is where my passion for working with plants, designing gardens and horticulture grew. Senior year of college I took an internship at Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale, where I was hired as Assistant Manager after graduation. Now I’m here at The Forge as Garden Manager.

The Horseshoe: What’s your favorite part of the garden?
Rose: My favorite part of the garden, physically speaking, is the compost center. I love composting and I spend a lot of time working with the compost, teaching workshops about composting and, of course, the garden always needs more compost to grow great veggies! In general though, my favorite thing about the garden are the SCU students, faculty, staff and community members who visit the garden and participate in its success.

The Horseshoe: Have you cooked with veggies from the garden?
Rose: A few nights ago we made pizza on the pizza stone grill using homemade pizza dough. Toppings for the pizza were all from the garden fresh pesto (a handful of basil leaves, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, salt and 2 tbsp. of olive oil), and thinly sliced red onion peppers, zucchini and tomatoes. It was amazing.

The Horseshoe: If you were a veggie what would you be?
Rose: That’s a tough question. But I would probably be a carrot. Carrots love healthy soil and lots of compost, and so do I. Carrots also get along with most other garden vegetables, and don’t have many pests or diseases, which I hope is true for me as well. Carrots are also very subtle, sweet vegetables that don’t mind sharing the spotlight with other vegetables in recipes. And of course, carrots live in the earth and have a lot going on under the surface, behind the scenes. As a garden manager, my day to day is all about planning ahead, preparing for the next season and building a strong root in the community.

The Horseshoe: What is an essential piece of advice for new gardeners?
Rose: Don’t get discouraged! Gardening is all about learning from experience. Every garden is different and the only way to know what works in your garden is to try new things and learn what does and doesn’t work. And of course, pay attention to your soil- healthy soil does wonders for your gardening experience.

Read the rest of the article in The Horseshoe newsletter, posted soon on the Forge Garden Website.

Tags: Center for Sustainability, Food, Profiles



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