Green Society and Biology department start planning for community garden: Garden said to be accessible by summer 2013

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Students interested in making UNBSJ a greener place can now look forward to a new exciting project on campus: UNBSJ’s very own community garden.

The Green Society and the Biology department have been working collaboratively with each other to create an extensive plan outlining the goals for the project. Consulting with many academic and non-academic departments, student groups and individuals, the plan has received much support from the community and hopes to have students actively gardening by the summer of 2013.

In order to make that happen, there are many factors that must be taken into consideration in order to ensure that the project runs as smoothly and problem free as possible.

Firstly, the Green Society has ensured their plan aligns with UNBSJ’s strategic plan. The goals of the community garden project are closely tied with the goals of the university, demonstrating how this will enhance the university.

In order to ensure that the project is accessible to the community and particularly to students, the society has laid out four requirements in regards to location. Visibility to the public, accessibility via walking and roads, close proximity to buildings and aesthetically appealing are all important factors that were taken into consideration when choosing the location. Making sure that students don’t have to go out of their way to access the garden in crucial to its success.

As of right now, the proposed design has the garden located north of the sports field, between the residence buildings and a woodlot. This area would allow for sufficient drainage as well as fulfill the four major requirements. This location has also received much support from members of the New Brunswick Sustainability Exchange and the Green Society.

The community garden will be approximately 0.42 acres allowing for 35-45 full sized plots. Students would be given first priority for the plots as the SRC will be providing much of the start-up money.

The garden will be enclosed by a chain link fence providing a barrier for deer yet still allowing for adequate sunlight. Ensuring soil quality and water availability are also high priorities being investigated for the project.

In regards to cost, there is no question that a project of this magnitude will have large monetary figures associated with it. Much of the funding for the project will come from the green fee paid by students. Other community initiatives have expressed an interest in providing funding through donations and the Community Garden Committee of Saint John has agreed to assist in any way possible. However, the Green Society ensures that funding for this project will not come from additional fees for students.

As plans continue to be put in place for the project and final measurements are taken, students can contribute to the project right now.

The Green Society is giving students an opportunity to rent containers for planting seeds for only $5. This cost will include potting soil, rocks, water and lighting. All you need are the seeds or plants. The 50cm x 100cm containers will be stored in the Biology Department’s greenhouse and eventually transferred to the new community garden.

For more information about the project or how to rent your container contact Sean Haughian at seanh@unb.ca.

1 COMMENT

  1. Just wanted to clarify a couple of things. First, the UNBSJ Community Garden Committee is overseeing development of the community garden, with input from the Biology Department (because many of the Biology staff and students see opportunities for collaborative work) and assistance from the VP’s office in terms of planning and formal land-allocation. The Community Garden Committee is comprised of staff and students from UNBSJ, and was assembled by members of the Green Society to ensure that an administrative presence would be here during the active gardening months, because many of the Green Society volunteers are not on campus during the summer.

    Secondly, the location is still not formally approved. The one highlighted above was considered ideal for the reasons given, but we are also considering a second, perhaps less costly, location, across the road from the Ganong Hall parking lot. In either case, the “phase 1” part of the garden outlined above is no longer considered viable, because the University was not willing to re-allocate that section of the throwing field.

    Lastly, I’d like to add that, in addition to the Green Fees funding provided through the SRC, we have had significant donations from the Graduate Students Association of UNBSJ, and hope to continue fundraising through partnerships with the greater community once our garden is running.

    Sean Haughian
    Chair of the UNBSJ Community Garden Committee

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