Blackhawk brings alternative dining options to campus

Hilary Shandonay

Water Testing
[/media-credit] University dining student employee Anna Lenerz tests the water of the Tower Gardens to maintain plant health.

UW Oshkosh has started serving freshly grown lettuce at Blackhawk’s Tower Gardens, according to Assistant Director of Dining Services Marty Strand. “These are aeroponic growing systems,” Strand said. “Water with the appropriate nutrients and minerals for strong growth of vegetables is rained down over the roots of each plant. This results in rapid and nutritious growth.” Strand said the towers are located in Blackhawk next to the salad bar and university dining student employees take care of the plants. “The produce and herbs grown in these gardens are added to cooked items as well as some greens being added to the salad bar greens in Blackhawk,” Strand said. “Students have noticed when the greens have been added and mentioned that they have a lot of natural flavor.” Strand said other universities like Ripon College are also using Tower Gardens to grow food for their students. UWO junior Cally Kobza said she was unaware of the Tower Gardens in Blackhawk, but she would try the food depending on how the vegetables are grown. “I do think that by changing the meal options we are given, students will become healthier and feel better after eating at Blackhawk or Reeve,” Kobza said. Kobza said she didn’t enjoy the unhealthy options on campus, but likes the salads and subs in Reeve Memorial Union. UWO transfer student Morgan Ansems said the Oshkosh campus accommodates her vegan diet better than her previous university. “I think that’s amazing we’re growing our own food,” Ansems said. “I didn’t know the University was doing that.” Ansems said she is eager to try the food grown from the Tower Gardens and believes universities all over should have their own fresh vegetables growing on the campuses. “I’m taking a class on sustainability this semester and think that is a great choice UWO made,” Ansems said. “It is better than eating and buying processed junk.