Carolina Campus Community Garden

March 1, 2010: In these difficult economic times, some members of the UNC-Chapel Hill community are struggling to feed their own families. Many are forced to work second jobs to help make ends meet. Inspired by the World War II Victory Garden concept, a dedicated group of staff, students, faculty, and community members are developing a campus community garden that will provide food for low-wage workers and offer a setting for gardening workshops and other educational opportunities that promote home gardening with limited space and resources.

The garden is a collaborative effort involving the Employee Forum, the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and the North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG), which is the sponsoring university unit for this initiative. The campus garden is located on a parcel of land on Wilson Street off Cameron Avenue, not far from the Carolina Inn and in close proximity to UNC employees, staff, and students.

To assess the level of interest in the garden across campus, the UNC Employee Forum sent out an online survey. Of the 1,253 respondents, 97 percent indicated support for the establishment of a community garden for employees. In addition to campus-wide support, the Westside neighborhood association is actively backing the initiative and has been involved with the planning.

Two student organizations, Fair ­Local and Organic and the Carolina Garden Coop, have been involved and supportive of the garden since the initiative started. The coop, which currently has a garden on the parcel of land on Wilson Street, will merge with the Carolina Campus Community Garden (CCCG) so that all involved can work together on one larger garden.

Students, faculty and staff rarely get the opportunity to work together outside of an academic setting. A community garden located close to campus offers the opportunity to promote sustainable gardening to the entire university community and its surrounding neighborhoods.

The landscape architect firm Swanson and Associates has contributed significant time to the design of the garden, which includes several beds and pathways that will be wheelchair accessible. The CCCG committee has received a $7500 grant from the Strowd Roses Foundation, which funds a part-time garden manager, Claire Lorch, who is now a member of the NCBG staff.

The gardening group is hoping to break ground in March. Next steps include establishing guidelines and procedures for the garden and ongoing fundraising efforts. To get involved or learn more, visit the Carolina Campus Community Garden website or contact Claire Lorch.

Updated on February 13, 2014 at 05:21:17 pm.