This spring, GC students are setting out on a campus-wide dandelion harvest to be served at a dandelion themed meal.

Spring finally graced Northern Indiana with its presence this week, bringing one very important thing with it: dandelions. The dandelion, a traditional foe of lawnkeepers the world over, has been cast aside as a weed and a menace by many.

The idea, pioneered by Jon Mark, a senior EcoPax member, and aided by EcoPax, is a new one for GC. According to Mark, there were several reasons behind this initiative.

First, many people do not recognize the nutritional benefits of these dark leafy greens, but they are full of vitamins A, C and K.

Second, “the picking of dandelions may promote a deeper connection to the land; students may gain a greater sense of ownership and therefore work harder to keep the grounds clean,” says Mark. In addition to that, Mark added, “connection to the land is also a key ingredient in promoting environmental action.”

Finally, Mark even believes that the dandelion harvest can be seen as a spiritual duty, saying “it is ungrateful for a Christian institution not to utilize all of the gifts the Lord bestows upon us.”

Yesterday, the inaugural Goshen College dandelion picking commenced at 10 a.m. in the Kratz-Miller and Music Center prairies. Mark chose these sites because the areas have not been exposed to any kind of chemicals in the last two years, making the resident dandelions safe for consumption. The second “power hour” phase of harvest will take place from 3 to 4 p.m. today in the same locations.

To complete the cycle of this sustainable effort, AVI Fresh has also agreed to join forces with GC students. When dandelion picking officially closes at 5 p.m. tonight, all of the harvested plants will be handed off to Jeremy Corson, AVI executive chef, to be stored and used for lunch tomorrow at the Westlawn Dining Hall. In an effort to make this cooperative meal as accessible as possible, the AVI team has even agreed to sell Friday’s lunch tickets at the reduced price of $5 for those without a meal plan.

The dinner menu will include dishes such as Backyard Udon Stir-fry, Dandy Burgers, Dandy Muffins and Bread, and Dandelion Cookies.