Pumpkin carving, homegrown squash and musical accompaniment by acoustic guitar dominated Binghamton University Acres’ third-annual Fall Festival from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Located on Bunn Hill Road at the BU Acres campus gardens, BU students and locals alike gathered to appreciate some natural food in the midday sun.
Festivalgoers were greeted by an arrangement of food including veggie burgers, handpicked Asian pears and zucchini bread. Attendees had the opportunity to carve pumpkins, paint their own reusable canvas bags or simply relax on a bale of hay while members of the Guitar Club strummed away.
While the events may be enticing, organizers at BU Acres said the off-campus location meant that some students may not be willing or able to make the trip. In an effort to increase accessibility, the festival provided a shuttle from campus every 20 minutes. Teresa Liu, a junior majoring in business administration and the president of IDEAS (Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions), said the organizers had difficulty creating publicity for the festival.
“Not a lot of people know about this whole circle of organizations and we’ve been trying to fix that,” Liu said. “I’m also a core member at the Food Co-op and we’ve been working together to make a group chat with like-minded organizations to share events and promote each other.”
Constantly working the grill, organizers made sure red onions, zucchini and garlic were cooked to serve fresh from the garden while attendees harvested their own potato with pitchforks. According to Ava Glasser, ‘19, events like these allow for small amounts of food to be served, since BU Acres doesn’t have the supply to operate as a business .
“The main goal of the farm is teaching instead of necessarily selling the food,” Glasser said. “It’s just to show people what we can do with the land that we have. Like come get a piece of squash — it came from 50 feet next to you.”
Sean Cummings, manager of BU Acres, said while many students have a desire for more locally grown food on campus, the sheer quantity of people means that supply can’t keep up with demand.
“People want to know why there’s not more local food served on campus,” Cummings said. “Well, the strange thing is not that there isn’t more local food, the strange thing is that there’s 60,000 people living in one square mile. When you think about the complexities of the food system, you can’t disregard these larger issues. If you were trying to source all the food locally, you wouldn’t be able to.”
In an era where discussions of going green and eating sustainably are more prevalent than ever, BU Acres offered an opportunity to get back to more natural agriculture. Yelena Keller-Wyman, a junior double-majoring in economics and philosophy, politics and law, said the event reinforced her desire to go green.
“I’m definitely trying to be more environmentally conscious in what I buy and eat,” Keller-Wyman said. “You can always increase your sustainability by doing little things, and it’s cool to see what other people are doing.’”
Follow @bupipedream for a video of the event, coming soon to Instagram.