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).
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.”