A community garden set to grow

Located behind the Goldberg Computer Science Building

- October 27, 2011

Staff from Student Services, Facilities Management and the Office of Sustainability planting the garden's first tree earlier this summer. (Bruce Bottomley photo)
Staff from Student Services, Facilities Management and the Office of Sustainability planting the garden's first tree earlier this summer. (Bruce Bottomley photo)

It's hard to get more 'local' than 'from Studley campus.'

Thanks to support from the Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office, Facilities Management, and Student Services, students and staff will someday be able to grow their lunch and eat it too in Dalhousie's community garden located behind the Goldberg Computer Science building.

What began as a garden on Seymour St. has bloomed into part of an ongoing sustainability movement that’s taking place at Dal.

From lunches to workshops

The initiative has quite the history. The Seymour Garden Group came together in the summer of 1996 with hopes of creating a long-term sustainable food options for those who live around campus. While their original garden remains behind the Dalhousie Arts Centre, the space behind the Goldberg building was identified as the new official garden where, over time, food will grow.

Rob MacNeish, DSU Sustainability Office policy and communication officer, says there’s more than one way for someone to reap the garden's benefit.

“Within the next few years, the garden will offer a wide variety of fruits like apples and cherries and vegetables like green beans, mushrooms, and tomatoes,” he says. “Pretty well anything you can grow in your garden at home, we’ll be able to grow here.”

The garden will also offer an educational component, he says, for those looking to grow their own gardens.

“We’ll be offering workshops for anyone who wants to learn,” he explains. “If you’re looking for lessons or just looking for a place to plant your own seeds, you’ll be able to come here.”

Providing options

This fall, organizers will continue to work on raising enough funds to help landscape and build the infrastructure needed to support a full production garden that will be able to provide the community with fresh fruits and vegetables.

“It’s hard for people who live in apartments or residence to grow their own food,” explains Alexander Gopen, a volunteer organizer with the Dalhousie Community Garden Group. “We want to show that you can grow food in the city and provide an outlet for people who want to learn how to garden, eat fresh food and be able to say, ‘hey I know where that food comes from.’”

Looking ahead, Mr. Gopen and Mr. MacNeish hope to collaborate with the Grawood Lounge, the Grad House and local food banks helping provide folks with local food options where they may not be any.

“If you want to pick an apple at the garden, you’ll be able to. If you want to get one in the cafeteria, you’ll be able to do that do. Either way, we’re providing another option for students and staff,” explains Mr. MacNeish.

Student volunteer roles vary between doing research on policy work, working in the garden, conducting workshops, and maintaining the land.

Student Services support sustainability

Student Services recently released its annual report, "The Dalhousie Student Life Experience." To offset the carbon from printing this year’s and last year’s report, Student Services committed to planting five trees in the garden over the next few years.  

"I am really pleased to be part of developing this space, large and sunlit, to replace the old Seymour Green space at DeMille House,” says Bonnie Neuman, vice-president Student Services.

"The VPSS office has been happy to make some financial donations to the garden to support development costs and plant purchases ... and I would encourage other university departments to also consider this as an opportunity to offset their carbon footprint related to printing and travel costs."


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