SU Students and Chaplain Grow Flax at Local Garden

By Christine Edgeworth ’15
About 4 years ago, SU’s Lutheran Chaplain, Gail Riina, secured a plot in Morningside Community Garden for SU students to cultivate through the Lutheran Campus Ministry’s STEP Center. With this plot, Chaplain Riina hoped to connect SU students to the garden and encourage them to explore the advantages of urban gardening.

Flax2While visiting the Syracuse Center of Excellence in 2010, Chaplain Riina saw a model display of sustainable urban design features, one of which was growing flax in empty city lots. She was “inspired by the beauty of the plant and by the potential of putting together an urban project that could create new employment opportunities, beautify the city, and produce sustainable clothing, creams, and beauty products made of flax.” As it turns out, flax is one of the most sustainable fibers on the market—it’s extremely durable, requires just a tiny fraction of the water that it takes to grow cotton, and actually grows better without pesticides.

Since 2010, Chaplain Riina has enlisted the help of 10 students on average each summer to get a trial flax garden at Morningside up and flourishing. Read more…