At the 7th annual Tiger Blue Goes Green Sweet Potato Pull, students, volunteers and faculty from the University of Memphis all pulled sweet potatoes from the TIGUrS garden behind the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
The TIGUrS garden serves as a place where both fruit and vegetables can be grown naturally without the input of artificial preservatives. Art Johnson, director of the sweet potato pull, said he was excited to see a large number of people turn up to pull the tasty vegetable.
“There’s multiple purposes for the event,” Johnson said. “One is to bring people to the garden, and another goal is bringing the University of Memphis campus together.”
This distinct event attracted a number of UofM students, such as John Guiterrez. The sweet potato pull was Guiterrez’s first time working in the garden, and he recommended the event to others who have a keen interest in consuming natural foods pulled straight from the ground.
“I plan on using the sweet potatoes that I pull for a sweet potato pie, which is one of my favorites,” Guiterrez said.
UofM students at the event also learned how to plant, develop, wash and curate their food that sprouts from the ground. Many students participating in the event said the amount of work required to produce fresh vegetables is definitely worth the time as their bodies feel refreshed and at peace.
Sophomore Joseph Goudreau came to the sweet potato pull with a familiarity of home grown vegetables, but said he was impressed by the large number of sweet potatoes students and faculty were able to pull from the garden.
“I worked on a farm, so I am used to getting my hands dirty,” Goudreau said. “I really just came for the sweet potatoes, but I’m really liking this.”
Many students and volunteers put a lot of work into the pulling of potatoes. Individuals not only needed to remove weeds from the garden to make the potato-pulling process easier for others, but other crew members gathered the weeds and transported them to an area far away from the areas of work. As the crew continued pulling out large sweet potatoes from the garden, volunteer and UofM student Oscar Cabello marveled at the large amounts of potatoes they dug up.
“Events like this really make me appreciate the ability to grow my own food,” Cabello said. “You see all these vegetables that came from nothing to something and that in itself is a unique thing.”
Johnson said he wants people to be aware of what they put into their bodies and the benefits of choosing natural food over processed food.
“If people want to get involved, there are flyers and media pages that regularly post about events like this,” Johnson said. “I feel the potato pull not only impacts the volunteers taking part, but the community of Memphis as a whole.”