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University Community Gardens

  • Subject: [cg] University Community Gardens
  • From: "Anna Wasescha" <ariel@tc.umn.edu>
  • Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 13:38:53 -0600

There is a huge community garden on the campus of Reed College in Portland
Oregon.  The Parks and Recreation Department of Portland manages the
project, but it is physically located on campus grounds.  I think that's a
great example of a "campus park" - a notion that Chicago is furthering by
working with public schools to develop their grounds into recreational green
spaces in non-school hours and more productive, pleasant green spaces for
the children during school hours.

I oversee a community gardening project in Saint Paul and we have three
sites, one of which is on the campus of Concordia University.  The gardens
we have there are restorative, rather than food production gardens.
(Although they are definitely food gardens for the ever increasing numbers
of rabbits, birds, butterflies and other creatures who call these gardens
home.)   These gardens are designed, nurtured and enjoyed by members of the
community surrounding the college.  They are also used by students, faculty
and staff as places to relax and enjoy the outdoors.  Two years ago, a group
of graduate students went together and bought a bench for one of the
gardens.

Gardens are a great site for installing public art.  Our collaboration with
the Art Department at Concordia was the reason that we were able to secure a
spot on campus for these gardens to begin with.  Our steady follow-through
is how we are gradually making them a permanent feature of the campus.  We
also have access to the college's greenhouse for seed starting in the
spring.

Collaborations with universities and colleges are an incredibly robust
strategy for sustaining and increasing the presence of community gardens in
urban communities with very little "extra" green space.  The school
gardening movement alone should be a good reason for every Education
Department to call for a community garden on every campus.  It's a
laboratory and an outdoor classroom.  And if that were to actually happen,
that would mean an additional two to three thousand or so community gardens
in the US.  Think of the possibilities.

Anna Wasescha
Farm in the City
1312 Dayton Avenue
St. Paul, Minnesota  55104-6440
651.646.8733 (phone)
651.646.0034 (fax)
ariel@umn.edu


______________________________________________________
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