Gardening Around Campus: The West Bank Community Garden

Artistic shot of the West Bank Community Garden


On West Bank, between the Carlson School of Management and the Rarig Center, a small garden lays brimming with tomato trellises, native perennials, kale, and scattered pollinator beds. It’s there thanks to a small cohort of students looking for a place where faculty, staff, students, and community members can gather on the more metropolitan side of campus to have meaningful interactions with a core theme of healthy food and the environment. With the help of the Living Laboratory initiative, an IonE grant, and Professor Tom Michaels advising, these students created the West Bank Community Garden (WBCG).

Pictures from the West Bank Community Garden

Created by students through the Living Laboratory program, the West Bank Community Garden is a place to grow food, build community, and educate all levels of gardeners through rewarding work.

With the first year completed, some of the hardest parts of creating the garden have been accomplished. The students had several obstacles to face, including how to design this community garden in the middle of an area whose community changes rapidly. Ultimately the group decided to share produce based on the amount of effort each individual put into the garden as a whole rather than have individual plots. This ensures the aesthetics of the garden are upheld and that the University will welcome the garden in the future.

Now the organizers are looking ahead to next year, which includes garden planning and looking for new leaders. “There are a lot of things we hope to improve on next year,” says organizer Louis Mielke (Environmental Sciences Policy and Management ’16). “We want to get more perennial seeds in, ward off bunnies, and get more variety of produce.” If you’re interested in learning more about or supporting the WBCG, get in touch with the current organizers at westbankcommunitygarden@gmail.com or follow them on Facebook.

December 9, 2015

Horticulture Newsletter

Like what you see? Many of the stories on the website are featured in our print newsletter Horticulture. You can download a PDF of the most recent newsletter or fill out this online form to receive the next edition in print or via email. If you’re a current member of the department or an alumni and you’re doing something interesting, tell us about it by emailing Echo Martin at mart1794@umn.edu.

Horticulture has been in circulation bi-annually since spring of 2011. Check out all the previous issues in the archive.