Enactus: Community Garden
When the Cornell College Enactus (formerly known as SIFE) team began meeting to discuss projects, the idea of a community garden surfaced frequently. There were many questions about undertaking this project: Where will the garden be planted? Who will tend it? How will the college and community benefit from a community garden?
Thanks to a generous donation from John McGrane '73, the Enactus team has broken ground on a plot of college land. Students began clearing the area on May 4 and have planted many seeds and seedlings, including squashes, pumpkins, and tomatoes. Kate Jacobsen '11 and Cameron Clark '12 are tending the garden through the summer. To engage the community, they have been attending the Mount Vernon Farmer's Market and plan to open the pumpkin patch to area children this fall.
Though the small garden is doing relatively well, the land on which it is planted is not ideal -- there are black walnut trees shading the plot and the land is secluded, so the Enactus team has it on their agenda to look for a more visible and accessible spot to continue and expand the program next year. Jacobsen stressed that Enactus wants to be more active in the community by partnering with existing organizations to extend their presence in Mount Vernon. The group in considering opening plots to community members and to other student groups on campus, which directly addresses the issue of produce maturing at a time when students are not on campus. The Enactus team would be able to donate produce or proceeds from selling produce back to the student group or to community organizations.
What have Clark and Jacobsen learned from this experience? Aside from gardening tips, they say that the most important lesson learned is how to communicate and coordinate with representatives from several populations to form a common goal.
Click here to read the Community Garden Blog.