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Community gardens on campus

  • Subject: [cg] Community gardens on campus
  • From: Jerome Rigot <rigot.3@osu.edu>
  • Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 13:48:01 -0400


I am a new subscriber to this list.

I recently started working for the Ohio State University (I just came from Santa Cruz, CA), at an agricultural research campus that the university has in Wooster, Ohio. It is a small campus in a small town, located at around 80 miles northeast of Columbus.

Anyway, besides my work, I like to garden and to my surprise there are no community gardens on the campus! There is an extensive international community, composed mostly of grad students and their families, post-doctoral researchers and their families, visiting scientists and their families.

Most of these people live in apartments located at walking distance from the campus, and some members of the families (often with one or several of them not speaking English ) are kind of stuck during the day in those apartments (not fun), and would definitely benefit and/or enjoy having access to community gardens.

I sent a campus wide email regarding the possibility of having community gardens on campus, and received only positive feedback with many people interested and already wanting to reserve plots.

Anyway, the reason for this email is that I am in the process of organizing community gardens, and I want to have a good case to present to the university administration, which is being cautiously interested about this project.

I want organic gardening techniques, and I have good arguments to not have any pesticides spraying on the plot (mostly that this is a community project, for the community by the community, and the gardens must be safe for children). Now, regarding fertilization (when I initially brought up the project, the first reaction was, "ok,  let's spray and fertilize the site, to get it ready". So, if I argue against synthetic fertilizers, I need to have good arguments because they may say nitrogen is nitrogen, it doesn't matter what the source is (I am thinking that I can talk about the environmental impact of synthetic fertilizers, such as ground water contamination, detrimental effects on soil texture, porosity, long-term fertility, overall lower vegetable and fruit quality, such as lower levels of nutrients found in vegetables conventionally grown as compared to organic grown vegetables).

Any additional input would be appreciated, and references would be really helpful (this is an academic community after all, and there are several faculty members on the Grounds committee, to which I am going to present my proposal for the creation of community gardens on campus).

Also, I was thinking that having a children community plot would be very great, and a good motivation for families to come to the gardens, the kids playing and having fun in their garden while the parents take care of their plots. Of course, it might also promote healthy and educational interactions between parents/adults and children. So, i have no experience whatsoever with children's gardens, and would love resources/inputs. I did visit the ACGA site and the resources listed for kids gardens. However, I would like more practical advices, such as designing a kids gardens, what to put in it, how to involve the kids in the process, etc...So, if any of you would be willing to share experience and knowledge, please do so. It would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Jerome

Jerome Rigot
Post-doctoral researcher
OSU - Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center
Dept. of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
1680 Madison Avenue
Wooster, OH 44691
w: 330-263-3866
h: 330-263-0450

"Technology is of no use to us if it is used without respect for the earth and its processes." -- Aldo Leopold

...Seek not to know all the answers, but to understand the questions.

"Don't tell me what you believe. Show me what you do 24 hours a day, and I will tell you what you believe." - Jerry Ruben

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