A couple inches of snow won’t stop Jackson’s Garden, the garden operated by the culinary arts students located outside of the John Ware building, from producing tasty herbs and vegetables.
Culinary instructor Andrew Hewson began the garden in 2006 as an outdoor classroom to teach culinary arts students about agriculture, sustainability and the importance of having fresh food in cooking.
“The students didn’t really know anything about food,” said Hewson.
The garden acts as a sort of miniature version of world agriculture, said Hewson, the former executive chef at upscale restaurant, River Café.
“It creates a bridge for the students to show the issues around sustainability,” he said.
The students grow everything from tomatoes, squash, and apples, to various herbs.
Produce grown in the garden is used for cooking and demonstrations.
The on-campus garden operates year-round, even in harsh Calgary winters.
In the winter, students grow the produce indoors using grow lights.
When school’s out in the spring, interns from Olds College are hired to look after the plants. The interns also grow seeds with grow lights during this time.
Things aren’t always convenient when it comes to growing the garden.
“Last May, we couldn’t plant anything because it was cold and rainy outside,” said Hewson.
Originally called the SAIT Culinary Garden, the garden is named after Jackson Henuset, the late grandson of Wayne Henuset, a major donor to SAIT’s culinary arts program.
In November, 2009, shortly after the garden opened, Jackson Henuset, 3, drowned in a pool accident. Wayne Henuset asked Hewson to rename the garden Jackson Henry Henuset Memorial Garden in honour of his grandson.
The Garden is a hit with the culinary students.
“We get good feedback from students. They get really excited to work in the garden” said Hewson.