A Symbiotic Love Story

The ROOTS Garden Club Celebrates Official Opening September 3rd, 2009

By Jennifer Prosser, Features Editor, The Meliorist

September 10th, 2009. Volume 43, Issue 1

It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is ‘soporific’

-Beatrix Potter

The Campus Community Garden operated by the University based ROOTS Garden Club is modestly tucked in a broad field about 10 minutes from the Students’ Union and just a few steps away from the on – campus family Residences’ and the soon – to – be open on-campus daycare. Fenced and protected from those roaming deer and adorable bunnies, the garden invites its tenders in with a bright sign and a welcoming attitude by all who garden there.

Nine plots with robust evidence of tender love and care, although clearly some have been cared for a little less than others, sit orderly filled with various vegetation. The large communal plot shows evidence of the water problems the garden saw this summer and marked with thistles and small patched of long grass scattered here and there, it reminds visitors of the native vegetation still present. Despite the lack of water and the thistle problem, the large communal patch proudly boasts healthy rows of lettuce, tomatoes and various other vegetable type plants. As evident, my gardening skills are limited to balcony herb pots but on my wander through our on- campus garden patch, I feel as if the earth is a little more forgiving than I thought and the possibility there.

Throughout the summer, members of the University community worked together to build, till, plant and tend the garden’s interior. Shared labour yields shared rewards in this cooperative and the harvesting was very good for this first year community garden. On the day of the official grand opening, the sun shone brightly on plant and animal life. Young children of the University’s many Faculty and Staff ROOTS members ran excitedly to their family’s garden plots, and students and other members of the ROOTS garden club came to mill, chat, pull weeds and celebrate the official opening.

President Cade spoke briefly and succulently, quoting the University of Lethbridge’s Strategic Plan on “Commitment to Society” (principle no. 1),  “Commitment to Students” (principle no. 3), and “Commitment to Responsible Action” (principle no. 5). While this may be the current University of Lethbridge talking points, it is also speaks to the support this garden has from all of the University community.

Our on – campus community garden has been hard fought for by the community with active participation from across the University. Funded by the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union and the University of Lethbridge to the tune of $17 000.00, this was an initiative that deserves all the support it garners. As the season grows shorter and the members of ROOTS collect the last of the produce grown, a new season is only around the corner and I even hear whispers of winter garden prep.

To get involved with ROOTS and take an active role in supporting our garden, look for their table at Clubs Rush. The on – campus composting project will also be present at the ROOTS table during Rush Week to share information on composting and talk to students about having composting on – campus, benefitting both our garden and our communities environmental impact.

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