On Saturday morning, students gathered for the UFF community garden to begin gardening. The event was the first volunteer garden day of the semester.
Despite the heat, dirt, and bugs, students are on their knees from 9-11 a.m. to preparing the garden for the new season, pulling weeds or moving rocks. Throughout the event, students praised the garden for its ability to bring people together.
“Community garden is a wonderful way to get involved in the UWF,” said UWF High School Steven Wickerski. It’s a great opportunity to learn about nature, meet new people and give back to the campus community.
And the community garden really does give back. The garden is not only a healthy product for students, but also has many solar panels that restore energy to the university. Solar panels, along with many other features of the garden, are primarily supported by the UFF Student Government Association and the “green fee” that students pay when they are accepted to the university.
As this work day was the first of the semester, many returnees used the last semester as a way to re-engage on campus following social distance. New UWF students commented on how it made them feel better in the garden.
“I have a garden in my house,” UWF said International Student Deren Watts said, “So it’s good if I get my hands dirty here and meet new people.
At first glance, there are many hidden gems in the garden. On a much-needed water break on Saturday, Kugmanman Honorary Program Director And Faculty of Gardening Dr. Gregory Tomso Visit the students for hidden features in the garden.
There are all kinds of pollen to help the garden. Tomso hinted at future “bee research,” which he hopes will be implemented in the future.
In the far corner of the garden, students are growing tea plants. According to Tomso, tea plants are one of the few people in Alabama to collect tea leaves in the South.
In some trees, small logs are hung on ropes to grow mushrooms. A pair of vineyards around a rainwater harvesting trail near the center of the garden.
“I am especially excited to be working on the new vineyard project,” he added Wickersky.
During a visit to the garden, Tomso explained that the success of the garden depended on the participation of the students. He said that when the garden was first built, it was more than a little cleaner, which was randomly packed with wood and wheels.
That is why Tomso says he is happy to see so many new faces.
“Nothing can happen without you,” said Tomso.
Community Garden Volunteer Days are held on the first Saturday of each month. Additional working days will be announced. Click for more information on how to participate in or support the UWF Community Garden over here.