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From the garden to the cafeteria

We walk past it many times a day without even realizing it’s
there. It’s behind the metal fence, just beyond the row of
shrubbery. You may not have actually seen it, but you may have
eaten from it and not even known. It’s our secret garden: the Mills
Botanical Garden.

The botanical garden recently began selling mixed greens to
Founders Commons, according to garden coordinator Dana Echelberger.
The fresh, organic greens provide healthy salads to students and
contribute to the financial support of gardening services.

Serendipity brought Echelberger to her job as garden
coordinator. She decided to return to college after raising a son
and living in Mendocino, where she had a successful career in
Mendocino as head gardener at Stanford Inn by the Sea. She
graduated in the spring of 2002, with a degree in environmental
science. When the job as garden coordinator became available, she
tossed her hat in the ring with a long line of applicants and was
awarded the position in the fall.

Although the garden has existed for 12-15 years, Echelberger
inherited a garden that had been neglected for about half that time
and which had suffered from a summer of drought. After just over a
year, and a huge amount of back-breaking work, the garden is coming
alive again with both new plants and established plants which had
been hidden by weeds.