UWF Community Garden continues to blossom in its seventh year of operation

By Kenny Detwyler
Contributing Writer

community

About 40 volunteers, including UWF faculty and students, show up to work on Saturday work days at the UWF Community Garden.
Photo by Kenny Detwyler.

The UWF Community Garden recently has been growing more than just fresh food and flowers. It has been growing at a rate that is allowing it to develop more than the members may have thought possible when it first began in 2009.

Nestled in the woods, behind the water tower and adjacent to parking lot B, students can find the garden, which is run and maintained by UWF students and faculty. It provides a place for students to get in touch with the world that surrounds them.

“I think that students who should go to the garden are people who enjoy the environment or love gardening, and even people who have never tried it in their lives,” Garden Club officer Shawnee Doling-Tye said. “A lot of people found that they love the sunshine, and that the fresh food is even better.”

On any given work day at the garden, you can find as many as 40 volunteers from many different backgrounds coming together to grow and maintain something “all natural” in a world that is becoming increasingly artificial.

“No matter what you study, no matter what your religion, your heritage, your gender, your age, the one thing we all have in common is that we require nutritious food to survive,” said Earth and Environmental Science instructor Chasidy Hobbs. “We have become so far removed from our food system that most of us could not provide for ourselves should the grocery store disappear. We want to do our part to teach people about just how easy it is, with the proper tools and a willingness to get a little dirty, to grow your own food.”

As the number of students who come to the garden continues to grow, so must the garden itself. The garden has a wealth of future developments planned for the site.

“We will be building a shade teaching pavilion this semester thanks to funds we received from SGA,” Hobbs said. “We also have our fingers crossed that we will receive funds for a request we put in for the Student Green Fee. If awarded, we will be building a rainwater collection system and doubling the amount of growing space available to anyone interested in getting involved with UWF Student Community Garden.”

Doling-Tye teased other upcoming additions including a grapevine, strawberries, and a pomegranate tree.

To find out more about the Community Garden and how to get involved in work days this spring, visit the website or ask to join their Facebook group, UWF Student Community Garden.