Growing fruits, vegetables, herbs and more, Eckerd’s Garden Club maintains sustainable practices while also informing other Eckerd students about how to grow and produce food in a healthy way.
Since 2009, the garden has been completely run by students in the Garden Club. The garden consists of a one-acre area of land on Eckerd’s campus behind the baseball and soccer field.
“The garden is the last free space I feel we have on campus where students can go out there and kind of just do what they want, be what they want, and just have fun and reconnect with nature,” senior Sebastian Munevar, co-clubhead, said.
The garden includes a composting area, several fruit trees and crop beds growing plants ranging from tomatoes, kale and herbs to bananas, prickly pear fruit and brussel sprouts. The club also recently received access to the greenhouse on campus where they plan to grow their smaller and younger saplings.
“It’s an opportunity to get your hands dirty and to understand the hard work of producing food, but also a creative space where people can experiment with different kinds of sustainable technology and techniques,” Professor of Environmental Science David Himmelfarb said.
The Garden Club also hosts several events on campus, including “Bend and Boucha” where participants can do yoga while sipping on kombucha. Students can also get involved in acoustic nights, meditations or volunteering in the gardens in the afternoons for reflective service learning hours.
According to Munevar, the main goal of the club is to spread awareness about where your food comes from, so the club often gives out their freshly-grown crops at their events. The crops are free to students involved in the club.
“The crops are for the club heads and coordinators that put in the time and effort to cultivate, them as well as the volunteers who put in work as well,” Munevar said, “Sometimes we have harvest weekends in the garden where we get together and cook the produce and eat it.”
According to Himmelfarb, who is also a co-runner of the Food Justice and Sustainability internship program, students involved in the garden are offered opportunities to go to local seminars and projects where they can learn more about how to garden and how to live more sustainable with their food choices.
Students can get involved through the Office of Service Learning. The club also holds daily gardening hours from 5-6 p.m. where students can the garden themselves and get more.