Volunteers took time out of their Sunday afternoon for a little gardening therapy in the university’s campus community garden. On February 19, fifteen volunteers from Beta Kappa Gamma, Triangle, Metropolitan Volunteer Program and a local church group planted oregano, carrots, beets and cherry tomatoes in the two-year old garden on the corner of Wheeler and Cullen.

The group also weeded, transplanted some plants and added new soil to the beds. The Green UH student team manages the day-to-day care of the garden and encourages volunteers to participate during group events such as this or whenever they are available from Monday through Friday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or Saturday-Sunday (2 p.m. to 4 p.m.). Volunteer Quyen Phan, an accounting major, said volunteering in the garden provides students with a learning opportunity plus a chance to mix and mingle with new people.

“It reminds us where the food is coming from, and it’s a great place to nurture our sustainable minds and bring students together,” Phan said.

Sarah Clouse of the Green UH student team said they try to work their schedule around the volunteers so all those interested can have a chance to experience the garden.

“I think the garden is an amazing hands-on, educational tool for our fellow community, faculty and students. It also helps people who want to start their own garden. The garden can give them ideas of what to plant, how to plant them and tips of what fertilizer to use or the best place to buy seeds. The garden provides people with support, education and social events where people can come together, get back to their roots of planting healthy produce and having fun with nature, which is so rare in our modern society,” Clouse said.

Aside from being a learning tool, the garden also benefits the surrounding community. The team and volunteers harvest the produce and donate it to local food pantries such as the Manna House.

“I think donating our produce to a local food bank is very rewarding. It’s so nice to go up there and give them our produce. The people tell us how great our vegetables taste, and it makes it all worth it when you see their happy faces,” Clouse said.

Although some beds were removed to accommodate construction nearby, they will be replaced once construction is completed and the garden will be a natural accent to the green spaces around the new dining hall.

Students, faculty and staff who are interested in volunteering can follow the Campus Community Garden Facebook page or send an email to volunteer.greenuh@gmail.com.