An innovative community garden is taking shape at the Barrie Campus of Georgian College this summer. With hungry students as its focus, it will be ready for full use in the 2017 growing season.
On Monday, Aug. 8, Environmental Technology student Avery Konda and Dr. Catherine Drea, Vice President Academic and Student Engagement, together planted a cherry tree to inaugurate the garden.
Located at the north end of the Sadlon Centre for Health, Wellness and Sciences, the garden will eventually consist of one dozen 12 by 12-foot plots that will be available to the Georgian community for growing a variety of fruit trees, and leafy greens and other vegetables.
The garden project has blossomed in large part thanks to Konda, who is in the middle of an eight-month entrepreneurship co-op education organized through the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre. Konda is also president of the Georgian College Students’ Association, Barrie Campus.
Through his co-op Konda, along with representatives of various college departments, created the Growing Georgian committee which has been the driving force for the community garden.
Growing Forward-Georgian, comprised of faculty, students, alumni, and external partners, is focused on growing sustainable food systems for students with low income, or students in need of healthy food alternatives on campus. It is a partnership between GCSA and the college’s Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation department.
Konda views food security for students as a key issue in their lives.
“I have always been interested in food procurement and food insecurities on campuses, as access to food directly reflects a student’s success in the classroom – if they are unable to eat consistently, they will not be able to learn properly,” said Konda.
Drea said the results that Konda has achieved demonstrate the benefits that entrepreneurship co-ops can bring.
“We are proud that our students continue to generate great ideas to support and accelerate student success. In his entrepreneurship co-op, Avery has taken an idea and his commitment to social justice and created a garden that will benefit students now and in the future,” said Drea.