Moving days could be over for UH community garden

The Cougar Community Garden, one of UH’s largest green initiatives, has been replanted three times due to construction. But with a permanent location looming on the horizon, staff members are aiming to use it to its full potential. | Steven Oster/The Daily Cougar

With the construction of Cougar Village close to completion, one of the University’s largest green initiatives, the Cougar Community Garden, may be closer to finding a permanent home.

In the past year, UH has paired with several organizations to develop a green-conscious campus. One part of this effort is the community garden, located in Lynn Eusan Park.

Since the garden’s planting took place in October, this outdoor site has been replanted three times due to the construction of the freshman residential hall. This caused the sustainability project to take a couple steps back from where it could have been. But now that Cougar Village’s construction is almost over, UH hopes it has finally found a home for the garden.

“I think the garden is done being moved around. We can finally restart our efforts and move forward to our goal of a greener campus,” Dining Services Marketing Program Manager Sevelia Johnson said.

Johnson, UH Dining Services, EcoReps and the Community Learning Agricultural Sustainability Program have been working together in conjunction with the community garden coordinator Leah Wolfthal. They anticipate on resuming their efforts of promoting composting in the dining halls by setting out bins for students to drop off their various meal scraps.

According to the CLASP Web site, the residential dining halls produce 80 gallons of usable waste per school week, which can be made into fertilizer that adds extra vitamins and minerals to the garden’s soil. The use of meal scraps will help UH cut costs, in addition to teaching students and faculty about resourcefulness.

With the creation of CLASP and a greater response in campus involvement, UH Dining Services expects the garden will be able to produce a lot more produce than it did last year. Produce such as lemon basil, chives and a variety of peppers.

“We had every intention of using the vegetables and herbs produced by the garden last year,” Johnson said. “We just didn’t have enough and hopefully in this upcoming year, we will.”

Johnson said she hopes that the vegetables and herbs produced in the coming year can be used on a larger scale.

“Even though the garden doesn’t produce enough fresh vegetables to replace all the produce that we use on a daily basis, we want to use the vegetables for special dishes, like Shasta’s (Blazin’) Salsa, that can be distributed throughout campus,” Johnson said. “We want residents to enjoy the fresh produce they helped grow.”

Whether Dining Services chooses to utilize the garden, Johnson believes it will offer more to UH than fresh ingredients.

“The garden is symbolic of UH’s efforts to go green and help the environment,” Johnson said. “Even though it has gone through some setbacks due to it having to be replanted so often, we are going to get the garden stabilized and use it to its full potential.”

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