Many universities embrace community gardens, as they serve a multitude of purposes. Why can’t TU be next?
Community gardens serve many purposes. Students and faculty can use the produce they grow, get their hands dirty for a little while or use the space as a relaxation zone. And increasingly, colleges and universities across the U.S. are recognizing this and implementing it. In 2010, over 100 colleges and universities had some form of community gardens. Why can’t TU be next?
A community garden could have fruit, vegetables and herbs for students to pick up on their way home for a snack or an addition to a meal. Lettuce, summer squash, tomatoes, potatoes, melons and strawberries are among the best to grow in Oklahoma, along with herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme grow well in small containers. (I can confirm this, after growing basil, thyme and peppers on my balcony.)
The garden by The Little Blue House would be one of the best areas for a garden, but other options are available. The grassy areas in Norman Village, around the Law building and Keplinger, or the space by the Hardesty parking lot are all areas that are currently empty and could be easily turned into a community garden. With the university’s permission, students could turn these spaces into planted areas.
A student club or individual students could tend to the garden, providing a sense of responsibility. Stressed students could use the experience to calm and center themselves. For students who are at all interested in sustainability, the project represents a concrete way to increase sustainability on campus. An honor system would ensure the garden is not over-picked. Composting could become a more viable option if a community garden was established. Compost could enrich the soil, avoiding artificial fertilizers.
If TU wants a community garden, students and administration need to discuss a host of issues, but bringing up this conversation is the first step.