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Over the past year the Community Garden has transitioned from a MRU committee to part of the regular programing of SAMRU’s Sustainability Centre, and now that another growing season is here, the garden is doing well with the changes.
“The past community garden structure just wasn’t sustainable” commented Sustainability Centre Coordinator Alana-Dawn Eirikson. Part of the transition included mentorship with the Calgary Garden Resource Network which helped interested members develop a Community Organizing Model which includes a number of small teams who help with a variety of projects based on individual talents and passions. Meeting with Janet Melrose from the Calgary Garden Resource Network helped garden members define the purpose of the garden for 2014 as well, and members established goals such as building community, providing knowledge and skills, and providing a fun garden space, among others.
“About ¾ of garden members are students” commented Eirikson, who went on to add that the remaining members are MRU staff, faculty, and alumni members such as Julia Koziell, who brings experience and mentorship to even the least experienced new gardeners. “The majority of our gardening team has almost no experience with gardening” added Eirikson “so Thursdays (when Julia visits the garden for the weekly work parties) are good days to come and get some guidance”.
Along with weekly work parties, designed to foster community amongst students, staff, and faculty, the garden team also hosts a weekly garden tour every Tuesday from 11:30-1:30 p.m. Participants are invited to meet at the Sustainability Centre on the second floor of Wyckham House with their lunch, and then head over to the garden (weather permitting). “When there are vegetables to harvest, people can take a sample home with them” added Miho Ichinoseki, a social work student currently doing her practicum in the Sustainability Centre. “We hope that when people have the chance to pick something fresh from the garden, and eat it right away, they’ll want to be involved” commented Alana-Dawn Eirikson. “We can take new members pretty much any time” she added.
To learn more about the Community Garden and help grow a thriving garden community at MRU, visit the SAMRU Sustainability Centre >> http://www.samru.ca/supportservices/sustainability/
By Dawn Linnemoller, Editor & Content Coordinator, SAMRU