GSU welcomes new campus community garden

Tandra Smith

Georgia Southern University and the Center for Sustainability opened a new campus community garden last summer between the Herty Building and the Williams Center.

The garden was a project tasked to Scott Blair, a graduate assistant with the Center for Sustainability, who was able to build the garden with the help of student volunteers.

“Last May, I was tasked to create a program for the community. During the summer, we began to build [garden] beds with various groups of students. Environmental biology and dietetic students volunteered to help,” Blair said.

There are six beds for students to grow various plants over the course of the semester. Kale, broccoli, and chives are among the plants that are already planted in the beds, but these will be harvested before students begin to plant.

Some groups will also be able to grow tomatoes in the greenhouse or maintain the herb garden.

“This is an organic garden, so no pesticides, artificial fertilizer, like Miracle Gro, or herbicides. We use our own compost for the plants,” Blair said.

In order to get a bed, all you have to do is get a group of four or more people. These groups can include roommates, student organization members, or teammates. As long as everybody in the group attends GSU, they are able to participate. Gardening experience is welcomed, but not necessary in order to get a garden bed.

At least one member of the group will also have to attend a bi-weekly workshop to learn about various gardening techniques and skills.

“[The garden] gives people an opportunity to grow food and learn what kinds of plants to grow during the year, how to compost, and so on. They start from scratch and go from farm to table,” Lissa Leege, director of the Center for Sustainability, said.

Around harvest time, there will be a potluck celebration, in which students will harvest what they grew over the previous months and incorporate their produce into a dish that they will share with the other groups that also grew plants during that semester.

The celebration will take place during No Impact Week, a week dedicated to environmental awareness, from April 10 through April 16.

“Students have been asking for eighteen years for their own garden on campus. This garden was created by the student sustainability fee and we’re grateful that the students voted for it,” Leege said.

The student sustainability fee was voted on back in 2012 and has funded various projects since then. The fee costs ten dollars each semester.

“[The fee] makes sense. I think most people want to contribute to making campus a little better. If our fees are going to a garden, they will most likely go to something else that we will never see,” Kierra Wells, sophomore psychology major, said.

Feb. 5 is the last day to sign up to participate in the campus community garden and there are only two spots still remaining. To sign up, go to the Center for Sustainability website.

Photo courtesy of Madison Reynolds.