P1020186Imagine it’s lunch time, and you’re staring at the food you brought from home. Maybe you have a cheese sandwich, or some leftovers, or some microwaveable meal. It’s all so uninspiring. You wonder how life could become so monotonous and empty. What could possibly free you from this pit of culinary depression?

We have the answer – fresh herbs and vegetables! What if you added fresh basil, arugula, and cherry tomatoes to those leftovers? Wouldn’t that brighten your day?

You’re thinking “well it could, but who can afford such luxuries?”

You can, at one of the Owens Snack Patches.

Snack Patches are planters filled with herb and vegetable plants available for public use. Planters are window boxes and pots supporting basil, radishes, arugula, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, Arkansas travelers tomatoes, hot peppers, cilantro, mint, and mesclun lettuce mix. Planting occurred in late June. Some of the fast growing plants (basil, arugula) will be ready for harvest in mid-July. Most other plants will be ready in August and beyond. Once the plants are ready, anyone can come by and harvest what they need. It’s that easy.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the program:

Where are the Snack Patches?

They are on the 3rd floor of Owens Science Hall. They are in the southwest part of the building (above Beakers).

What if I can’t identify or I’m unfamiliar with something in a Snack Patch?

Snack Patches have signs identifying the plants. Also, signs also have fun facts about the plants!

What if I don’t know how to use a Snack Patch herb or vegetable?

There are helpful instructions and suggestions clipped to each planter.

P1020188How much material am I allowed to take from a Snack Patch?

As much as you’d like, as long as you follow the harvesting instructions. For example, we ask that you don’t cut lettuce or arugula shorter than one inch, and you don’t harvest basil from plants with fewer than 8 leaves.

How do I harvest items from a Snack Patch?

For items like arugula and basil, there are scissors tied to each planter.

How should I pay for snacks from a Snack Patch?

No need to pay. They’re free.

Who can visit Snack Patches?

They are open to everyone. We hope they are visited regularly by UST students and staff.

Who is sponsoring the Snack Patch program?

The UST Stewardship Science Program and the Biology Department. The program is maintained by Pati Jones (UST Biology Administrative Assistant) and the Stewardship Science Program.

What if I have a new idea for another vegetable or herb for the Snack Patch program?

Send comments and suggestions to Adam Kay at adkay@stthomas.edu

How can I help make the Snack Patch program successful?

Eat the snacks regularly. Chastise overharvesters.