BGSU’s Community Garden fights food insecurity and creates sense of community

Mary Ross and Mary Ross

BGSU’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement, along with the Ending Hunger initiative and several other partners, seeks to help produce food for the community and those in need with several newly creating community gardens.

Four new community gardens were created on Friday near BGSU’s Fine Arts Building with the help of over 50 volunteers. Emily Kollar, junior dietetics major and BGSU Ending Hunger civic action leader, was very excited about the huge turnout.

“Lots of volunteers showed up so it really is bringing lots of people together and making this a worthy cause that people know about it,” Kollar said.

The project was funded by a Sodexo Youth service grant. The grant provided enough money to create eight garden plots, which are being spread out throughout other places in the community.

“We are doing four here, but we got the funding to do eight. The other four are going to Habitat for Humanity houses, so we are in communication with those families,” Kollar said.

Helping Habitat for Humanity houses and fighting food insecurity through the creation of these gardens is what makes sophomore education major Riley Post Falcon proud.

“I love that my University and peers are paying attention to food insecurity and doing something about it. I’m always glad to help create a positive change in this community, even if I get covered in mulch,” Post wrote on her Instagram page.

Although only the plots themselves were made and no seeds were planted during the event, there are plans to plant before the semester ends. Planting will begin in early May after all the frost is gone. However this will not be a large event.

Once the seeds are planted and produce begins to grow, anyone is allowed to harvest the produce.

“We are planning to grow many things. A lot of it last year was vegetables and then we had a couple flowers and a couple fruit things that can grow here. We basically have it where anyone can come and harvest it. So it can be a student. It can be staff. We even had Brown Bag Food Project come and harvest last year when we had a lot of extra stuff left over,” Kollar said.

Some of the produce which will be grown in the garden was featured in a dish from an onsite Teach-In Kitchen by BGSU Dining. The salad included green beans, lettuce and tomatoes. Volunteers were able to enjoy this salad while learning about the benefits of the community garden with a particular focus on healthy foods.

However, to make the garden produce the vegetation to create dishes like this, people volunteer, both regularly and irregularly, to tend to the garden.

“We do have volunteers who come in everyday to water it. People just reach out to us to volunteer. They can volunteer once. They can volunteer weekly. They can volunteer as much as they want or as little as they want just to water it, weed it and keep it upkept,” Kollar said.

For more information about the Community Gardens and the Ending Hunger initiative, go to bgsu.edu/endinghunger