Temple Community Garden has existed on Main Campus since 2009, but its previous location behind nine-foot-high red walls on the corner of Broad and Norris streets heavily affected student involvement, said Katy Ament, the organization’s former president.
“No one really knew we were there,” the senior environmental studies major said.
This semester, TCG, a student-run organization, moved its main vegetable garden to the corner of Carlisle and Diamond streets. It is not bound in by walls, which Ament said has helped the organization.
“The new space has been beneficial in getting new members,” she said.
Jim Creedon, senior vice president for construction, facilities and operations, said the garden moved due to last summer’s demolition projects surrounding Broad and Norris streets. He said more demolition is planned for the future.
“We plan to begin to demolish the Triangle Apartment Building over the next few months,” he said. “We want to open up the space at the corner and make it more accessible to the student community.”
Creedon said the new location became available when MAB Paints was demolished last year.
In April, TCG planned to move the vegetable garden near the SEPTA regional rail station at Broad and Berks streets. However, Ament said the raised ground TCG planned on utilizing needed more work than the group had anticipated.
“We would have had to do more environmental remediation than we would have expected,” she said.
“Growing vegetables for consumption on the land may have had some risk,” he said.
Ament said the group has been settling in well to its new location, citing its safety and its visibility. Currently, the garden has 10 completed raised beds and is housing cool-weather crops.
Last weekend, TCG installed 16 additional beds, which will soon be filled with crops.
Ament said raised beds are a way to grow crops in soil that is guaranteed to be clean. The method of gardening involves enclosing soil in a frame, so planted crops are higher than ground level.
“It’s been a luxury,” Ament said.
TCG’s flower garden already had a spot directly south of the vegetable garden’s new location. Ament said having adjacent gardens has been convenient for the group, which aims to teach students how to garden and reach out to the community.
Because the new location has resulted in increased interest in the garden, the group has been able to continue its service projects, including its consistent involvement with Project HOME, a Philadelphia-based program designed to provide residency and empowerment to the homeless, according to its website.
TCG works with residents of Kairos House, a permanent supportive housing residence located at Broad and Jefferson streets. The residents meet roughly twice a month to learn how to garden.
Ament said the garden is a good source of stability for those who may not have stable incomes – regardless of their living situations, members of Project HOME can rely on the plants they cultivate.
Now that it is relocated, TCG plans to add some flowers to its vegetable garden to promote the spread of pollinator insects, Ament said. She added that the garden aims to be more accessible to students.
“[We’re] making it more of a place where you can hang out,” she said. Abandoning the red walls is integral to this, she added.
Further plans for the garden include adding benches for students to utilize and hosting movie screenings in the newer, more open space.
TCG holds an open garden hour at 3 p.m. on Fridays.
Grace Holleran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @coupsdegrace