Located on West Campus, near the baseball field, Georgia College (GC) has a community garden, which is fittingly called the West Campus Garden and open for the enjoyment of GC faculty, staff, and students. The garden was made possible through the work of GC alum Lindsay Crowe and current GC student Andrew Wright. These two students submitted a proposal to the Sustainability Council for funding under the Sustainability Fee program. The proposal was approved during the spring of 2015; construction began in the summer of 2015; gardening began on August 29, 2015; and a ribbon cutting ceremony was held on October 5, 2016. The area is home to a 50 foot by 70 foot plot enclosed by 10 foot tall deer fencing, 20 raised beds each equipped with drip irrigation lines, a compost bin, bird houses, homemade stone signs, and fruit trees. In addition, a metal table is available for you to sit and enjoy the view.
Fig. 1. West Campus Garden Ribbon Ceremony, October 5, 2016.
Currently, the Gardening Club oversees much of the maintenance and promotion of the garden. To accomplish this, they often provide the produce from the garden to GC staff and students at tabling events. They also hold regular workdays, which are necessary for tasks such as planting, laying mulch, and harvesting. For the spring semester, the workdays have been scheduled for Tuesdays and Sundays (Figure 2) and will be held as long as the weather permits. These workdays are open to the GC community and involvement is welcome and encouraged, for garden aficionados and enthusiasts alike.
Fig. 2. West Campus Garden Workdays, Spring 2017.
Volunteering during the West Campus Garden workdays is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors this semester and also help this campus sustainability initiative thrive. Additionally, it may provide some health benefits. Below are just a few quotes from the peer reviewed literature which indicate a link between urban nature spaces and human health.
“[T]here is a growing body of evidence showing [urban nature] has links to improved physical, psychological and social well-being.” – Shanahan et al. 2015. BioScience. 65(5): 476-485.
“Regardless of whether Portland residents used them or not, urban nature parks had an effect on our sample’s sense of neighborhood social health.” – Baur et al. 2013. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration. 31(4): 23-44.
“In addition to the physical effects, many of the studies demonstrate the benefits to mental health of green space.” – Flaskerud. 2014. Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 35: 975-978.
The West Campus Garden has been a welcome, and welcoming, addition to the GC campus; and there are many plans in the works for its expansion. In the meantime, if you would like some more information about getting involved with its success, please contact the Gardening Club or visit their Facebook page.
Fig. 3. Vegetables at the West Campus Garden.