College’s garden helps local food pantries
Published November 11, 2010
Planted in April in honor of Earth Day, the inaugural community garden at University of Cincinnati Clermont College (UC Clermont) this fall produced 381 pounds of vegetables and fruit—and all of it is going to local not-for-profit organizations that serve the community.
The harvest—which includes squash, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, corn, peppers, basil, cucumbers, pumpkins and watermelons—was donated to local organizations such as the YWCA Food Pantry, the YWCA House of Peace, the James Sauls Homeless Shelter and Kings Way Fellowship’s food pantry.
“Our clients really appreciated having a selection of fresh vegetables,” said Lynn Stranz, coordinator of Emergency Service for the YWCA’s branch office. “More than half of them live in apartments or are in senior housing, so they don’t have the space or ability to grow their own gardens. People really got excited about fresh produce—particularly the tomatoes and zucchini.”
Measuring 25 square feet, the garden was established on a college-owned plot of land. Seeds and seedlings grown and donated by biology lab manager Daryl Klein were planted and tended throughout the spring and summer by students, faculty and staff volunteers.
Nearly 120 extra tomato plants left over after planting were donated to six community organizations.
“In addition to providing these organizations with fresh, locally-grown, organic produce, we were thrilled to be able to share the tomato plants so these groups could grow their own tomatoes on site,” said Barbara Wallace, UC Clermont’s director of the College Success program and coordinator of the garden.
Additionally, the garden became a featured part of the college’s service learning in several biology classes. Students planted and tended the garden, using organic gardening techniques.
Despite some setbacks—including a late frost, insects, deer and a summer drought that prompted campus facilities staffers to truck water to the site weekly—Wallace is happy with the outcome.
“We learned a lot this year, and have plans to expand the garden’s size next year when it’s planted in conjunction with Earth Day next spring,” she said.