Maggie Reid, Assistant Features Editor
Sometimes, all you need to do is find your niche, and that is just what senior Marcus Recile did.
If it was not for a work-study position opening up in the greenhouse, Recile would not have stayed at Utica College.
“If I had never found this greenhouse, I would’ve left Utica College,” Recile said. “Having this experience to work in the greenhouse was the most enlightening thing I’ve ever done. I wouldn’t take it back for the world, I couldn’t imagine sitting at a desk or a computer.”
When Recile began working in the greenhouse, his supervisor gave him the freedom to do whatever he thought was best. As of today, he has turned the greenhouse into a small business by introducing the plant sale to the Utica College campus and using the proceeds to improve the the greenhouse.
“Overtime, I noticed that the materials we were working with were outdated and rundown,” Recile said. “I learned how to clone plants and organize plant sales two to three times a semester to put back the money into the infrastructure of the greenhouse.”
Recile’s efforts did not stop there. He started a partnership with Sodexo during the fall 2017 semester to create an herb garden that the dining services provider utilizes to make the food found in the dining hall.
“We set up a business partnership with Sodexo where we grow herbs and place them out on the cafeteria terrace,” Recile said. “Instead of students just complaining about how the food tastes, this is an opportunity to add natural herbs to food to improve quality and taste, to change the circumstances that they are dealing with.”
Recile hopes to “pass the torch” to other students due to the fact he will be graduating in May.
After graduation, he hopes to get involved with urban agriculture by introducing more vegetation into city landscapes.
“I spent my summer teaching kids to garden, and they didn’t know where general produce came from,” Recile said. “For example, they didn’t know that zucchini came from the ground. I want to stimulate the idea of urban agriculture to populate the food deserts we have in cities and offer city dwellers food with higher nutritional value rather than the poison sold from corner stores.”
Recile also plans on working in the medical cannabis industry.
As of right now, there are currently eight students working in the greenhouse as it is a small area. An estimated 500 plants are grown in the greenhouse at a time.
There are a range of different plants grown, but there is a specialization in native and regional plants for people to put in their gardens when they are purchased at the plant sale. Exotic plants from all around the world are also grown. According to Recile, they can be hard to sell as “they tend to croak as soon as they leave the greenhouse.”
One of Recile’s favorite plants is called the “passion flower.”
“Three years ago, I planted two passion flowers and one of them died,” Recile said. “I was close to giving up, but then it finally flowered. I thought it never would, that’s persistence. I’m so dedicated to it I even have a tattoo of it.”