UNT students, faculty and staff who are looking to put their green thumbs to use can organically grow food, become educated on sustainability and foster connections and relationships through the UNT Community Garden.
In 2015, the idea for a campus garden was first presented to the UNT We Mean Green Fund through a student-led proposal. Today, the UNT Community Garden is located between Legends Hall and the North Texas Lofts. It features raised garden beds, composting and native landscaping for pollinators. Students, faculty and staff who apply for free membership are assigned to one of the 20 plots, which they work on throughout the year. They also contribute their time to large-scale workdays, which are open for anyone in the community to attend and are typically held on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. These workdays are an opportunity for students to earn service hours towards the Environmental Volunteerism Graduation Cord.
In addition, workshops are regularly held, covering topics such as Gardening 101, Top 10 Plants for North Texas and Pest Identification, and master gardeners from the Denton County Master Gardener Association periodically come to speak and offer advice.
Everyone from a novice to a more experienced gardener is welcome to participate with the garden, and there are many options for what to grow.
“We mostly grow seasonal vegetables, but there is also an entire plot dedicated to herbs, and we have Texas native flower beds along the perimeter of the space and around our gazebo,” said student Maggie Brookshire, UNT Community Garden facilitator. “Gardeners are allowed to request specific seed varieties to be ordered at any time at no cost to them. They can grow whatever they wish in their plot as long as their plants and seeds are from a certified organic grower.”
Gardeners are welcome to take home whatever they grow, but they are encouraged to donate a portion of their harvests to the UNT Food Pantry. They may also harvest from the community herb garden, which exists to provide herbs to anyone who does not want to take up valuable vegetable growing space in their own plot.
According to Brookshire, gardening can have many benefits, including:
- Promoting healthy ecosystems
- Reducing food waste
- Reducing packaging
- Reducing chemical use
- Reducing vehicle emissions
- Offsetting carbon emissions
- Personal health and fitness
One of the most important benefits is community sustainability.
“Gardening is fun!” said Brookshire. “Sharing the experience with others helps us build a sense of community and belonging while protecting the environment.”
For more information on the UNT Community Garden and how to get involved, visit https://studentaffairs.unt.edu/we-mean-green-fund/programs/community-garden.
For more information on the UNT We Mean Green Fund, visit https://studentaffairs.unt.edu/we-mean-green-fund.
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Contact: Ray Willhoft, 940-565-2464, firstname.lastname@example.org