by Lindsey Abernathy, Project Coordinator | September 16, 2015
On September 1, more than 20 volunteers gathered to sow the first seeds of fall in the newly established University of Mississippi campus garden. The garden provides an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to learn gardening skills and grow food on campus.
“I think it’s important to have a garden on campus,” said Ellen Olack, who is serving as the AmeriCorps VISTA in the UM Office of Sustainability.” We’re all from different places and have had different experiences, so having a place on campus where we learn real life skills like growing our own food is very beneficial to all students, faculty and staff.”
Olack organized the groundbreaking and is spearheading the establishment of the UM Garden Club, which will maintain the garden throughout the academic year. The longterm goal of the garden is to grow fresh produce for the UM Food Bank.
During the work day, volunteers sowed seeds and planted seedlings for the fall growing season. Tiffany Bensen, UM biology instructor and volunteer garden manager of the Oxford Community Garden, demonstrated planting techniques to volunteers. Prior to the planting, the UM Compost Team amended the garden soil with compost produced on campus with food waste from Rebel Market and the Marketplace at the Residential College.
“Nearly everyone in the university community can benefit from a university garden,” said Bensen. ” Also, a University of Mississippi vegetable garden brings the the local, grow-your-own-food movement to a younger generation who can learn about the value of gardening and take that value with them when they leave.”
The work day ended with a picnic lunch provided by the UM Office of Sustainability, as well as discussions on maintaining a campus garden, building soil, composting and local food.
The UM Garden Club is open to all UM students, faculty and staff who would like to be involved. To learn more, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.