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Taking Root: MVNU Gardening Club Plans Community Garden

MVNU’s Garden Project has bounced around from place to place since last year, but has found its home with the Sustainability Club on campus.

What started out as a final project for students in Environmental Justice took root to form its own club, the Gardening Club, which then gave way to a collaboration with the Sustainability Club.

The Environmental Justice class laid the groundwork last spring. Students created a plan for a community garden with the fresh produce being donated to the Salvation Army or another local pantry.

Students in the class teamed up to “get the green light from leaders on campus to have a garden,” junior Kate Decker said.

Once they had permission, they put together a plan to make the project come to fruition.

The class wrote letters to Ariel Corporation asking for a grant. Soon after, Ariel gifted the club with a grant to start the garden.

Decker said there were many obstacles in the beginning.

“We didn’t know how to garden at first,” Decker said.

Through the help of Assistant Professor of Social Work Dr. Danielle Giroux, Director of Campus Life Rochel Furniss and Human Resource Specialist Katie Sherman, students involved in the Garden Project learned valuable tips on how to raise a successful garden.

The seeds for the garden were donated by Kim Fry at Community Roots, who also taught the members of the Garden Project “how to start seeds and grow them.”

When the class ended, Dr. Giroux encouraged students to continue working on the project to make it come to fruition.

At the end of the semester, the Gardening Club became an extension of the class project. Once the club began meeting, Decker said that they realized they held the same values as MVNU’s Sustainability Club.

The Gardening Club and Sustainability Club merged and the garden project became an extension of the Sustainability Club.

The merger of the two clubs is beneficial because they are working towards the same goal and displaying community, Decker said.

“Our goal is to have a raised bed constructed and fenced by graduation day,” she said.

The produce will be planted on May 12 with the help of resident directors and students who live nearby. The garden will include zucchini, pumpkins, watermelon, cucumbers, green beans, snow peas, carrots, radishes, regular and cherry tomatoes, basil and oregano.

The water for the garden will be provided by the Kokosing River.

After the garden proves successful, Decker hopes it can help the community in more ways than giving produce to local pantries.

Students hope to eventually introduce Esther Jetter preschool children to the garden, host cooking classes for the community, allow the Environmental Science majors to test the soil and teach workshops showing the community how to garden.

“We want to get this started then see where it goes,” Decker said.

The garden will be located across the creek and on the east side of the path on the way to Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene.

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