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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Community garden to sprout new possibilities

September, 18, 2019 | Jill Bold | campus editor
NE Campus will receive a community garden outside of NSTU. Students and faculty will be able to grow plants in raised metal containers. Photo by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian
NE Campus will receive a community garden outside of NSTU. Students and faculty will be able to grow plants in raised metal containers.
Photo by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

A new community garden is in the works on NE Campus to provide gardening opportunities and to grow produce for the food pantry.

“The response was tremendous,” said geology and geography professor David Sallee, after papering the campus with flyers. “A majority of [emails] are from students, which is kind of surprising.”

Over 40 students and 20 faculty and staff have already responded by email indicating  they would be interested in gardening at the new site.

“Most people are interested in learning about gardening; they don’t know anything about it,” said Sallee. “Or they just don’t have the space or sunlight at their own homes.”

Sallee is organizing and designing the project with the help of Matthew Broyles, administrative assistant to the president, who executes each step of the project. The garden will grow in the outdoor courtyard just outside NSTU, where 25% of the food grown will be donated to the food pantry next door.

“The more food there is, the more people we can help,” said NE student Michael Hall, a volunteer with the food pantry.

Sallee and other experienced gardeners will be on hand to teach all the participating gardeners effective techniques and cultivating methods. He explained that anyone from brand-new gardeners to experienced green thumbs would be invited to grow plants in one of the 16 raised flower beds made of galvanized steel.

Biology professor Claudia Cash, who helps manage the greenhouse on NE campus, explained the advantages of these raised beds.

“You can put improved soil in a raised bed and you don’t have to worry about native soil,” she said.

Sallee is working on making one of the raised beds wheelchair accessible. Repairs are currently underway to complete that addition to the garden. Once that is built, soil will be added to the beds and gardening will commence.

Sallee has grown a garden in the past on NE campus, in an open space near NIMC. After he stopped tending that garden at the behest of the administration, he tried again to reestablish a garden with this project. NE Campus president Kenya Ayers was on board to get this idea rolling.

“This has been backed and supported in every way from the president’s office,” Sallee said. “I’ve been trying to do this for seven or eight years. Our plan is to help it grow and to help more than just 16 students.”

Sallee will provide the Children’s Center with a plot to be used to educate the children on where food comes from and how it grows.

“It’s a learning and teaching moment,” Sallee said. “It’s important to teach them at that age. So many people, even adults, don’t know where food comes from.”

A plot of grassy land exists between the outside gate of the garden and the curb at westbound Harwood Drive, a space that Sallee hopes will be the site of the garden’s eventual expansion.

He also envisions additional horticultural projects on campus, such as a fruit or nut orchard.

“We’ve got lots of space,” Sallee said. “We really have a beautiful campus.”

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