Life
Gardening Offers a Fruitful Learning Experience
Photo Courtesy of WFU Campus Garden
By
Guest Columnist
Thursday, February 22, 2018

Weeding in the strawberry field, building structures for the garden such as hoop houses, planting seeds and seedlings, harvesting produce and turning the compost, these are just a few of the environmentalist efforts you could partake in while volunteering at Campus Garden. Whether you are an avid garden groupie, or someone who has little to no experience in agriculture, you will find your place by getting your hands dirty with the environmentally friendly produce. 

Volunteering at Campus Garden has given me a new outlook on sustainability in the Wake Forest community. I have been able to meet people who aspire to find solutions to issues regarding food security, waste reduction and mindfulness toward nature. This past weekend, with the help of fellow volunteers, I got to harvest a ton of spinach and divide it into two piles, one pile for composting and the other for donating to Campus Kitchen, a space on campus where food will be made and packaged to deliver to the community.

There are no shortages in tasks that need to get done at Campus Garden. This past weekend a dozen volunteers, including myself, divided into groups to help weed strawberries, harvest produce, build a fire and mulch. We bonded tremendously through sustainable service, as well as when we named the chickens after popular celebrities such as Shakira. Without volunteers, these chickens would not have a sturdy home to live in, fresh produce to nibble on or funky new names.

Hard work is never scarce at Campus Garden. We make sure that not one leaf goes to waste and not one weed goes unpulled. First-year Jack Lloyd explained the impact of carbon footprints to the group and people listened and carried the knowledge back home with them. The volunteering does not end after the work is done, because sustainability is equivalent to livelihood, as well as to our identities as Wake Forest students.

Diversity can be found in humans as well as the non-humans at Campus Garden. In mid-to-late spring, the garden focuses on summer crops such as eggplant, tomatoes, squash, watermelon and strawberries. In the fall, mostly leafy plants that can withstand the unpredictable weather patterns of the fall and early winter months are planted.

If the weather allows, shifts are usually from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. two days a week at 1141 Polo Rd. A reusable water bottle is crucial for working in the spring months as the weather is warming up, and gardening gloves are recommended but will be provided at limited numbers.