The Community Garden wants you to plant some veggies. ABAC’s community garden is a hidden gem that has been a long time in the making.
The project started around early 2018 by community assistant Hayden Bailey and residence life coordinator Sarah Herring.
At first the garden was small, only 24 square feet, with a perimeter made of cinder blocks.
The following year Trent Hester, Sarah Herring, and a few volunteer students put a fence around it, expanding the garden a little more.
Then, in October 2019, Sarah Herring received a $6,000 dollar grant and the project took off. In February 2020, students added new raised beds, benches and a compost area.
The garden was once again expanded with the help of head community assistant at Place Megan Abram, this time to 1,800 square feet.
Finally, on October 18, the garden held a community workday. Thirteen student volunteers dug trenches a few inches underneath the beds and installed irrigation. These pipes that protrude at each bed allow for an automatic watering system that still allows Herring to customize the watering schedule to each individual plot owner’s wants.
Even though this was a grueling task, the workday didn’t end there. Students also prepared the garden for winter by pulling up dead spring and summer produce, laid down tarp to prevent weeds from growing in the beds, and dug holes for their sign and announcement box (to be hung once a drill is purchased). Even though the community garden is now fully functional, Herring still strives to improve it for her students.
On March 27, 2021, there will be another community workday. Volunteers will install a walled flower bed around the perimeter of the garden, consisting mostly of wildflowers.
The community garden is working with the Beekeepers Association to put a hive near the garden.
Herring hopes that the wildflowers planted will serve the bees. Despite this upcoming workday, the community garden is ready for students to start planting.
With 9 large plots available (that can be divided if interest increases) students interested in having their own plot should contact Sarah Herring at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to have a plot but don’t have seeds? The community garden has seeds for students, from bell peppers to zinnias. Want to have a plot but don’t have the right tools? The community garden has those too all a student needs to do is ask. The community garden was started so students could get hands-on experience growing their own produce, but Herring feels like the garden is more than that.
When asked why she started the community garden, she said, “It’s almost therapeutic to get your hands in the dirt and see the fruits of your labor and I wanted students to have that experience and understand where their food actually comes from.”
As the pandemic continues and students enter mid-term season, soil, veggies, and fruit might be the stress relief everyone could use.