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Campus members break ground on demonstration garden

  • A photo of a group of students at the garden.
  • A photo of Youssef Darwich and Anne Hiskes.
  • Students setting up the garden.
  • A photo of a shovel.
  • A photo of Youssef Darwich.

Posted on May 18, 2018

Campus community members will get a taste of what it's like to grow produce when they visit a new garden on the Allendale Campus. 

Students, faculty and staff members attended a groundbreaking ceremony May 17 for a demonstration garden, located north of Au Sable Hall next to the arboretum. The garden is an extension of Grand Valley's Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP), a farming and learning space located south of campus on Luce Street. 

SAP Manager Youssef Darwich said the garden will serve as a tool to raise awareness about SAP. The 15-by-15-foot space includes six raised garden beds, which mimic the size of a typical, homemade garden. 

"We hope that when people walk by the garden, they will be inspired to visit the farm or start their own garden," he said. 

During the ceremony, Anne Hiskes, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, said students from all majors can learn and develop skills at SAP. 

"The Sustainable Agriculture Project is a place for campus members to find community and socialize, but more importantly, it's highly educational," she said.

The garden will be maintained by student volunteers and SAP interns. Darwich said the first set of crops will include tomatoes, kale, salad lettuces and flowers.

SAP produce is sold on Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in front of Lake Michigan Hall. Beginning June 6, produce will be sold at the Grand Valley Farmers Market. 

The Sustainable Agriculture Project, housed in the Office of Sustainability Practices, started as a student-initiated community garden in 2008. It has grown to include two hoop houses, a greenhouse and four acres of land, and offers community-shared agriculture and community garden programs. The project serves as a platform for experiential education on food systems and environmental science. 

Watch a video of the ceremony here .

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