Thursday, July 22, 2010

Community Gardens -- coming to a campus near you?!

I love gardening. However, when you rent an apartment, and digging in the yard isn’t permissible, you have to be a bit more creative. Luckily, I have a small balcony that allows me to plant a container garden; I’m currently growing tomatoes, peppers, basil, chives, cilantro and parsley. While I’m thrilled with my mini garden, purchasing all of the containers and extra soil made it a more costly endeavor than digging a hole in the earth (not to say that’s easy or cheap, but the earth does supply a lot of the necessary resources). I’m fortunate it enough to have the expendable income, but not everyone has that luxury, and extra cash (or space) shouldn’t prevent people from enjoying fresh, organic, locally-grown food. Thus, we see the importance and necessity of community gardens, which is particularly true for college students who don’t often have access to the space or extra cash.

A community garden provides so many benefits, including bringing people together, educating adults and children about how food grows and the care it takes to transform a seedling into the food we consume, allowing people to eat locally, and expanding palates by exposing people to new herbs, fruits, and vegetables…just to name a few.

The staff of the Women’s Center is looking to introduce a community garden to NIU. The grounds crew won’t give us the bed in front of the office (I know, we’re irritated too!), but they have offered up some space over by the west lagoon. So, we’re toying with the idea of a container garden on our front porch versus the lagoon. Be on the lookout for updates!

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