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Dirtiness is Next to Godliness: Providence Creates a Garden for Campus and Surrounding Community Members
Following an intensely busy graduation weekend, Providence College and Seminary community members changed pace by breaking ground on the new Providence Community Garden on Monday, April 26.
“The Providence Community Garden is another initiative to become more actively engaged in the De Salaberry community,” says Dr. Gus Konkel, president of Providence, “to provide a service to those looking for an opportunity to garden, and to show Providence support towards all efforts to engage people with the soil. As someone with the distinguished opportunity of an education working the land as a farm boy, it strikes me as particularly important to give something of this opportunity to others. Providence is fortunate to have very responsible people to ensure this will be well done."
A handful of interested gardeners happily got dirt under their finger nails as they ripped up sod, tilled the earth and shovelled until the former patch of grass began to resemble a working community garden.
“We've just got this going in the last couple of weeks,” says Bruce Duggan, associate professor of Business Management and one of the coordinators of the Providence Community Garden. ”Right now, it looks like some bare patches of ground in the north-east corner of our campus, but soon it will be a place where both plants and community will flourish.”
This community garden is making small plots of land available at an annual fee to staff, students and community members. “We already have about a dozen volunteers,” says Duggan, “and we're now extending an invitation to the wider community beyond Providence. We're hoping people will come and plant whatever their hearts (and stomachs) desire."
”Plots are available for $100 per year, says Duggan. ”However, if you volunteer, a plot will cost you only $40.”
The garden will include new composting facilities for cafeteria waste and future plans include a picnic area, flower beds, and an arbour.
Lindsay Harris, registrar at Providence who has studied urban community garden strategies during her master’s studies in Chicago, had the original dream to create a garden on the Providence campus and will provide guidance and coordination for the project.
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