Growing Gardens, Communities and Minds
Rita Langdon,Associate Provost and Director of Public Relations
C.W. Post Campus,
Long Island University
Fresh herbs, chives, numerous varieties of squash, beans and root vegetables are among the bountiful harvest that can be found in the Community Garden on the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University. Located on the south end of the campus, the garden overlooks the sports fields and equestrian center to the north, horse paddocks to the east, the stately Fine Arts building to the south and natural woods to the west. In existence for more than 10 years, the Community Garden is open to all members of the Campus community. Each March a letter is sent campus-wide inviting participation. To date, the participants include faculty, staff and a few students. The majority of those tending to the 10’ x 15’ garden plots return year after year, though the plots are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
In preparation for the planting season, most of the plots are rototilled and composted with horse bedding, which provides rich nutrients to the soil. Some of the gardeners prefer to prepare their own plots as part of the horticultural experience. After all, for those who are interested in ecology and the environmental sciences, the garden serves as a living laboratory and learning experience.
Gardeners can be found tending to the soil and plants during lunchtime or at the end of their workday and on the weekends. There is water, ample parking and gardeners can keep cool in the shade of four Zelkova trees which border the top section of the garden.
The Community Garden not only enhances the beauty of the Campus, it demonstrates and promotes the concept of sustainable agriculture. Besides utilizing C.W. Post’s land resources to produce fresh and healthy food, the community garden raises awareness about food and resources. "It will teach people about every day things they eat, and also about natural resources and how to utilize them,” according to Case Joosse, grounds manager for the C.W. Post Campus. “Gardening in general is a really positive way to bring people together and help people have awareness about organizational gardening.” Togetherness is not the only thing a community garden can accomplish. According to the American Community Gardening Association, these gardens also bring neighborhood beautification, recreation and therapy.
The Community Garden harbors a bounty of color from May until late September for students, visitors, faculty, and staff to enjoy. There also is an extension of the community garden at the Long Island University Center where staff from Bush-Brown Hall tend to a garden located behind the building.
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