Notre Dame’s campus garden broke ground this month in White Field on the far north end of campus. The introduction of campus gardening hearkens back to the early days when all of the food for the University was provided by the Holy Cross farms surrounding campus. Food grown on campus will once again nourish the individuals and groups that participate in this Notre Dame tradition.
“There were a lot of different groups involved in making the garden a reality, from Risk Management and General Counsel to the Office of the University Architect and ND Security Police," said Jessica Velazquez, a Manager in ND Food Services who spearheaded the project. "Our garden committee members come from Health Services, the Office of Sustainability, Human Resources, and ND Food Services. We have also had tremendous support from Landscape Services and the Athletic Department Stadium Crew.”
In a survey conducted earlier this Spring, over 450 people responded that they were interested in hosting a plot in the garden. The garden’s limited area allowed for 45 plots this season. If all goes well this year, there may be opportunity to expand it so that more people can be involved.
Garden plots are 5’ X 10’ and their use is free of charge for individuals, families, groups of co-workers, or departments. Gardeners are free to do as they wish with the food they harvest. Some are sharing it with their family and friends, while others plan donate the fresh produce to local food banks.
All gardeners agree to raise their crops organically. Because the garden is meant to promote wellness in the campus community, organizers felt that it would be important to exclude all synthetic fertilizers and pesticides which can harm the surrounding ecosystems, infiltrate drinking water, and be consumed if residue accumulates on fruit and vegetables. Instead, the campus garden provides its gardeners with compost, mulch, and grass clipping for cultivating the soil.
The garden gives Notre Dame faculty, staff, and students the chance to appreciate the value of growing their own food while promoting healthy families and a healthy environment. With a little bit of sunshine, water, and fresh air, garden organizers anticipate that the garden will blossom into a vibrant aspect of campus life.