UWF community garden grows food for thought and consumption

garden-april-harvest

UWF community garden’s April harvest.
Photo courtesy of UWF community garden’s Facebook page.

Amanda Gerow

Staff Writer

The University of West Florida maintains a community garden that allows students, faculty, staff and the community to maintain the garden and learn about sustainable food systems.

The community garden was created in 2009 in order to cater to individuals who are interested in learning and teaching the proper ways to cultivate sustainable food systems. The garden also carries a partnership with Pensacola’s local food bank, Manna Food Pantries.

In order for the community garden to thrive, it depends mostly on donations and volunteers. It is located directly behind the UWF water tower adjacent to parking lot B. The garden is currently maintained by the Garden Club.

“SGA has provided funds to help support the garden, as well as the Honors College and many community members,” said Chasidy Hobbs, advising coordinator and instructor for the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Anyone who is interested in getting involved with the community garden is welcome. All a person needs to do is express interest in joining the Garden Club. There are a handful of workdays throughout the semester, and anyone is free to attend any or all of them.

“We grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, and pollinator attracting plants,” Hobbs said. “Anyone who puts in time and effort to help grow the food gets to eat the food.”

Not only does the garden allow those who volunteer to eat the food, it also donates any leftover food to Manna Food Pantries, Loaves and Fishes and Ronald McDonald House. The community garden is planning to begin giving extra food to the Argo Pantry soon.

A compost collection was held on Oct. 30 to collect any uneaten fruits and vegetables from anyone willing to donate them. The participation in the compost collection is important for the garden so that the scraps can be used to grow more produce instead of going to waste in a landfill.

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the community garden can check out the website or Facebook page, or email Chasidy Hobbs at chobbs@uwf.edu. If you are interested in growing food in one the beds, contact Gregory Tomso at gtomso@uwf.edu.

“Everyone is welcome, no experience necessary, only a willingness to get dirty and learn!” Hobbs said.

 

The mission of the UWF Community Garden:

  • To build community at UWF and in the surrounding region.
  • To promote food sustainability and security by creating an alternative to the industrial system of food production.
  • To teach UWF students, faculty, staff and other how to grow food locally and organically.
  • To encourage healthy eating by increasing access to fruits and vegetables.
  • To increase respect and concern for the natural world.
  • To help students develop leadership and community-building skills.