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Student-created community gardens to grow at AU this summer
4/21/10

Students at Alfred University have created an official garden club — the Alfred Society of Horticulture (ASH) — to develop and maintain community gardens for students and faculty.

The Society plans to plant the gardens this spring, by May 1, using a raised-bed system. The gardens will be located just off the south end of campus, between the Environmental House and the Language House, at 16 and 12 Park Street, respectively, and will accommodate approximately 14, 4-foot x 8-foot garden beds. Each bed will be rented to interested students and faculty for $20.

Those who wish to rent a garden space can plant whatever crop they would like but because the club wants to keep the garden organic, they will have to contact members in charge for permission to use any fertilizer. The club will supply members with tools.

There will also be a garden on the left side of the environmental house that will be a shared garden. The club plans to grow tomatoes, broccoli, beans, squash, etc. and hopes to have an herb garden as well. It is anticipated that the vegetables in this garden will be sold to AVI Fresh, AU’s dining services vendor, to supply local food for students.

“AVI Fresh has offered to front cash, up to $500, for items needed for the garden to help get the project started,” said John J. Dietrich Jr., director of dining services. That $500 would then be used as credit by AVI. “In the summer and fall, we would be able to use food from the garden totaling up to the $500, based on market price at the time. Once the credit runs out, we would be able to purchase items from the garden at market value,” he explained.

The green house currently located on the left of the environmental house will be used as a classroom for professors who wish to teach students about gardening as well as a nursery.

“A community garden is a perfect initiative for Alfred University, and I am so excited to see it all coming together,” said Kathy Woughter, vice president for Student Affairs.

“For several years, I’ve had conversations with people about a community garden, but nothing was possible without student interest. Thanks to the hard work of Hannah (Scout) Dunbar and Kacie Dean, and the partnership of AVI Fresh, our Physical Plant, and everyone involved with our Environmental House, our students are soon going to enjoy the educational, nutritional, and environmental benefits of a community garden," said Woughter. "Though it will start small, I hope the garden will grow into something that all our students and the Alfred community can be proud of.”

The students currently involved in the group are Dunbar, a junior art & design major from Ithaca; Amos Mainville, a junior mechanical engineering major from Fort Covington; Kara Kuntz, a junior environmental studies major from Bardonia; George Lowden, a sophomore are & design major from Marblehead, MA; Ean Rice-Mitchell, a sophomore environmental studies major from Otego; and Eggy Ding, a sophomore art & design major from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Each member will donate a few hours each week to garden maintenance; Mainville will be in charge of maintenance and planting over the summer.