Campus goes greener with opening of Temple Community Garden

Main Campus got a little greener yesterday, with the Temple Community Garden’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11th and Berks streets. Amid a few dozen students, a handful of faculty members and a student garden band that used only home-gardening tools as their instruments, Temple’s new garden was officially revealed.

Eloise McBride, volunteer director for the SHARE food program of Pennsylvania, cut the ribbon. SHARE is a nonprofit organization that provides food in exchange for volunteer hours. TCG plans to begin selling its vegetables next Thursday and donate the proceeds to SHARE.

Several students from Students for Environmental Action and Students for Responsible Business attended. Both organizations were involved with the garden, but Tyler students were most active when it came to its construction.

“I’m really excited [about the opening] because it took so long to build,” said junior sculpture major Krista Shaffer, who helped salvage the wood to build the beds. “We were supposed to get a $1,000 grant, but because of the financial crisis, we didn’t get it. The wood, soil, plants were all donated free. We didn’t think we’d get that much.”

Primex Garden Center, of Glenside, was the only sponsor to send a representative to the opening. Primex donated plants, soil, hay, wheelbarrows and tools for the garden. Staffer Lynn Rapp said the decision to donate to TCG was easy.

“Primex loves to support community efforts, especially in urban areas, and there was a need [here],” Rapp said. “We’re more than happy with the outcome.”

Other sponsors include Organic Mechanics, Hamada Roofing, Fairmount Park Organic Recycling Center, Construction Waste Management and Home Depot. Even the wood, salvaged from a dockyard, was free. Shaffer and other students worked diligently over the summer to strip it.

“We worked through rain and shine,” sophomore management information systems major Kashan Ahmed said. “We scraped and scrubbed the wood. There were nails in it and paint. It was a mess.”

Ahmed is the president of Students for Responsible Business, which had been working to get a community garden built on campus since 2008. But it was senior sculpture major Dan Feeser who finally got the permission to do it through Tyler School of Art.

“Dan beat me to it,” Ahmed said. “Dan got into the picture and somehow managed to get the ball rolling. He’s coordinated, organized and he just wanted to get stuff done. It really paid off, as you can see today.”

Morgan Ashenfelter can be reached at morgan.a@temple.edu.

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