A new garden has sprouted on St. Thomas University’s campus.
The produce garden is filled with cherry tomatoes, patio cucumbers, green beans, yellow beans, leaf lettuce, radishes, peas and parsley line the perimeter of the deck outside George Martin Hall.
Dave Dunbar, STU’s facilities supervisor, said the produce is for students, faculty and staff to enjoy.
“You can either walk by and pick two beans and eat them on your way to your next class, or you can pick your entire salad right there,” said Dunbar.
Philip Cliff, director of facilities management, said the university wanted to have fresh food options for students, make the campus greener and help the bee population.
“I haven’t seen any food going to waste, any tomatoes that aren’t getting picked. It seems like people are using it,” said Cliff.
The conventional idea of a garden on campus raised questions about sustainability and placement, but because the university already had the planter pots, all they had to do was buy seeds—no digging required.
The university hasn’t heavily advertised the new fresh produce supply, but they made a post about it on their official Instagram and news of it has travelled through the tomato vine.
“[We] haven’t had a lot of comments, but any that we have received, have been very positive,” said Dunbar.
The garden will be maintained until the plants naturally stop producing. The university said the garden could continue in the coming years, depending on students’ reactions.
Hailey Watson, a second-year gerontology major, has noticed the new addition to campus, but she didn’t know the produce was up for grabs.
“I think it’s really good for people, maybe [those] who live on campus, who spend so much living on campus, and then they want to go get groceries, but they can just come around and pick some vegetables and save some money,” said Watson.
Erickson Miranda, a third-year political science and international relations student, hadn’t previously heard about the garden, but thinks people may pick a snack if it is advertised more.
Although he is not a veggie lover, he appreciates that it’s available. He said it reminds him of his home in Managua, Nicaragua.
“I think it’s a good idea. At least back home … I know everyone just [grabs] a vegetable, [and picks] it from a tree.”
Miranda also believes it livens up the campus, which was one of the goals of the initiative.
“Just to have it, it gives you some kind of cheerfulness.”