UD’s community garden grows enough to feed 12,000
Published: Friday, September 4, 2009
Updated: Friday, September 4, 2009 01:09
Garden for the Community, the university's 15,000 square foot community garden, produced more than 3,000 pounds of produce to feed approximately 12,000 people and raised approximately $4,000 this summer for the Food Bank of Delaware.
Alyssa Collins, project coordinator and postdoctorial researcher in plant pathology, said "An Evening in the Garden"was an honorary event held on Aug. 13 to celebratethe success of Garden for the Community.
Collins said the event celebrated the success of Garden for the Community.
"We were hoping to raise money and collect non-perishable food donations for the Food Bank while giving people a chance to sample some great local foods prepared by the Food Bank's Culinary School," Collins said. "It was also an opportunity for those who hadn't had the chance to volunteer, or had been curiously peering at the garden from afar, to take a guided tour of the garden and find out why we were doing."
She said the initial idea behind the garden was to allow university graduate students to have their own individual plot of land to plant anything they wished. This year, the College decided to turn this concept on its head and instead devote the area to a Garden for the Community, which works with the Food Bank of Delaware, Collins said.
Junior Rachael Dubinsky, a Cooperative Extension Communication Scholar, said the event brought in a crowd of approximately 160 people.
"The main purpose of this event was to raise awareness about the garden and the Delaware Does More campaign, as well as thank those who have helped us thus far," she said.
Samantha Loprinzo, an '08 graduate and the assistant coordinator of the garden, said the event was also held to find more volunteers to help with the upkeep of the garden.
"As the winter approaches, the garden will need to be cleaned up and volunteers will be in high demand," Loprinzo said.
Collins said although she planned and coordinated the activities of the garden, students and community members completed the largest portion of the work that needed to be done.
"Since most of the action of a garden happens during the summer when most students are gone, we've really depended on community and university staff volunteers to carry us through," she said.
Volunteers from campus and community groups, such as the Air Force ROTC, Theta Chi, and a group of civil engineering students helped with the daily tasks of the garden, Collins said.
"Many RSO groups participated, and not just ag-related groups," she said. "We had a great amount of student diversity represented. During the summer, students from the English Language Institute volunteered on a regular basis and helped us get lots of work done while working on their English skills."
Collins is excited for all of the student groups who will be volunteering for her this fall.
"With this project, we are really just making a small dent in a dauntingly large problem, but we hope that the Garden for the Community can be used to raise awareness about the issue of hunger in Delaware, which continues to grow in these tough economic times," she said.
Garden for the Community will also be used by the university's agriculture department and the Food Bank of Delaware as a learning device for students and the community, Collins said.
"As interest in gardening increases spurred by the economy, the garden can be a teaching tool that will not only provide a living classroom for students and community members, but also a demonstration area for Food Bank culinary workshops and cooperative extension programs," she said.
Collins said Garden for the Community is still accepting volunteers.