The community garden on the Decatur campus is a positive place that can help the local community and the students who have two green thumbs and are looking to make a difference. “The community garden can give the students a job to help the community and give vegetables to homeless churches. It is also a good place to study because, it is one the most quiet places on campus next to the library,” said Keith Averitt, a business administration major with on the Decatur campus.
U.S. First Lady, Michelle Obama has recently been in the gardening spotlight with the release of her new book, American Grown. It has inspired college campuses across the country to engage in a similar initiative to Mrs. Obama’s by educating college students about locally grown food from both an environmental and nutritional standpoint.
Learning how to garden can change the way a person eats since all of their vegetables will be organically grown instead of being exposed to the chemicals that are used to help the produce grow bigger and faster. The benefit of any campus having a garden is that students have the chance to grow their own food, eat healthier and gain a sense of ownership.
In addition to being an educational tool for students to learn about climate and the community, a garden can also serve the local community as a food resource for people who are in need. “It is good for the science department to have the opportunity to grow plants for classes like botany. A lot of people love the garden and it is a conversation piece that can give some students the chance to go outside,” said Averitt.
Gardening is an ongoing educational and recreational project for students who major in agriculture and are in work study. After being tilled this summer, the fruits and vegetables of the garden are being harvested this fall.
After the produce ripened it is being given away to volunteers and to local churches for their food pantries The
students believe that the community garden can help bring in revenue to the school and they want to have the money invested into the garden.
“It is a good investment for the school planning to have a bee hive, and it would be awesome, because you can create your honey and it could be sold to help put money back into garden so you won’t have to use school funds, and the space behind the garden can be used for school events and activities,” said Shaquille Smith, a computer science major on the Decatur campus.
The Decatur Community Garden hopes to provide active space to educate volunteers and participants about gardening, building a community, and providing good products to them. The main mission of the garden is to raise awareness in GPC about the importance of the environment and natural food production.