Auburn Family

Organic Gardening Class Encourages Auburn Students to Grow in Many Ways

Dr. Glenn Fain has been teaching Organic Gardening for the past four years. However, the idea of an organic, sustainable lifestyle has been present in his life for many years.

Growing up, Fain’s family owned a landscaping business and as he grew older his knowledge of ornamental plants lead to an interest in gardening and fruit and vegetable production. Having several health conscious friends with organic tendencies, Fain and his wife, Faith, decided to look into purchasing organic milk following the birth of their third child.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to label my family or myself as organic, but we do purchase some organic products and advocate sustainable practices,” Fain said.

In fact, his wife grinds her own wheat to make homemade bread. The wheat (usually organic) is purchased in bulk through Bread Beckers a natural foods company located in Woodstock, GA. Fain and his wife are coordinators for the Auburn Breadbeckers Co-op.

Fain has found that teaching Organic Gardening has given him the opportunity to share his experiences in gardening and his own sustainable practices with his students.

“My favorite part of teaching Organic Gardening would have to be exposing students to gardening,” Fain said. “In my other class it is all majors. I know that in my organic gardening classes I have the opportunity to expose a lot of students who have never been exposed to gardening.”

Fain also co-teaches Intermediate Fruit and Vegetable Production with Dr. Raymond Kessler, which is a hands on course where students get gardening experience from seeding to harvest. The class maintains a teaching garden on campus that while not technically organic utilizes many organic and sustainable practices.

While he advocates healthy eating and purchasing local grown food, and highlights the benefits of some organic produce, Fain recognizes that sometimes purchasing these products is easier said than done.

“Organic is a choice,” Fain said. “Availability is the Southeast is not widespread and it’s hard to find organic growers at local famers’ markets in Auburn and in Alabama in general.”’

One venue that Fain suggests for buying local in the Auburn area is the Market at Ag. Heritage Park. All products sold at the market are Alabama grown or made and include a variety of fresh produce options as well as jellies and jams. The Market is open May through September, every Thursday from 3-6 p.m.

“I am a big fan of buying local,” Fain said. “As long as you know the farmer I think buying local is great. The Market at Ag. Heritage Park is a great place for students to go if they want to buy local produce and other products.”

“We are a fast food, hurry up society and it is nice to know that through the Organic Gardening course I am able to at least expose students to eating healthy,” Fain said.

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