Growing green and changing climates

Temple Community Garden hosts ribbon-cutting ceremony. Proceeds from food grown there will be donated to SHARE.

Main Campus is now a little greener after the opening of Temple Community Garden, which held its ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 7 at 11th and Berks streets.

The university’s new community garden was unveiled amid a few dozen students, a handful of faculty and a student band, which used only home-gardening tools as instruments.

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COLIN KERRIGAN TTN Temple Community Garden at 11th and Berks streets is built from only recycled and donated material. The Garden officially opened last week.

Eloise McBride, volunteer director for Self-Help and Resource Exchange Food Program of Pennsylvania, cut the ribbon. SHARE is a nonprofit that provides food in exchange for volunteer hours. TCG will begin selling vegetables tomorrow, Oct. 14. Proceeds will go to SHARE.

Growing foods is a practical idea that appealed to many students involved with TCG, such as freshman graphic design major Casey Cannon.

“I like the idea of growing food. I think that’s so cool,” Cannon said. “I want to be a gardener. I want to grow stuff, like vegetables and green stuff, not flowers.”

Cannon, along with members of her 3-D art class, attended the garden opening.

Several student-members of Students for Environmental Action and Students for Responsible Business also attended. The two organizations were involved with planning and building the garden, but Tyler students were most actively involved in its building.

“I’m really excited [about the opening] because it took so long to build,” said junior sculpture major Krista Shaffer, who helped salvage 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, donated plants, soil, hay, wheelbarrows and tools. Staff member Lynn Rapp said the decision to donate to TCG was an easy one.

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

Ahmed, the president of Students for Responsible Business, said the student organization had been trying to establish a community garden on Main Campus since 2008. But it was senior sculpture major Dan Feeser who received permission for the garden through Tyler.

“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.”

Author Robert Musil, a Leonard R. Mellman scholar visiting Temple, also attended the opening. He said TCG shows that college students are socially and politically active.

Following the opening, Musil gave an on-campus lecture about his most recent book, “Hope for a Heated Planet,” about the effect of grassroots efforts on climate change.

“Too many people say ‘What’s wrong with college students today?’ But they don’t know what’s going on,” Musil said. “It’s inspiring for me, who remembers when peace and the environment were radical. Now it’s not mainstream, but it’s legitimate. And I’m glad to see it.”

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

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