author: kristian ferguson | news editor
campus community garden donates to carmichael outreach
Regina Public Interest Research Group [RPIRG] has organized a community garden for the better part of five years right on campus grounds.
Located behind the Archer Library on the campus green, the now barren plot of ground lies. The Green Patch, as it is known, has run on volunteers and dedication.
The Green Patch website states its “six strategic objectives” as “Educate on horticulture, food security, and healthy eating habits. Engage students and staff in a community project with positive social impacts. Produce high quality vegetables at a low cost. Enhance the beauty of the campus landscaping. Value environmental sustainability, responsibility, and diversity. Support community partners and residents of Regina.”
Since its inception, RPIRG and The Green Patch have donated the food they have grown to Carmichael Outreach. Volunteers are given a small portion of the crop as well, as a thank you for their hard work as volunteers.
Carmichael Outreach, as described by its Facebook page, “is a volunteer-driven, non-profit organization providing Regina’s core surrounding area with everything from clothing, food and household goods to harm reduction services, health education and counseling referrals. No fees are ever charged, our door is open to whoever needs our assistance and everyone is treated with respect and dignity.”
The programs that Carmichael Outreach organizes include a needle exchange program, condom distribution, an immunization program, as well as hot meals served through the week.
The Carillon had the opportunity to talk with the Executive Director of RPIRG, Krystal Lewis, about the Green Patch.
“We were hoping to engage with more classrooms, professors, and community organizations to expand education around gardening and research, and we did,” said Lewis.
“We also prepared the base for a new sign for the garden, and will hold a competition for students where they can submit proposals for what the sign will look like – and offer them a budget to build it.”
With concerns about the weather this harvesting season, the Green Patch did its best to assure that they were able to make a sizeable donation to Carmichael Outreach.
“We weren’t sure how the dry and hot weather would affect the garden, but in the end we ended up breaking our record and grew over 2000 lbs. of produce,” said Lewis.
“This was also despite the summer of a million gophers.”
Having survived a veritable gopher apocalypse, RPIRG is looking towards the future for the Green Patch.
“We have built a couple of small raised beds that we are hoping to install next to the walkways next year, to both make some of the garden a bit more accessible and experiment with a different style of growing.”
In addition, the Green Patch meets the goals of the “PIRG tradition,” as stated by RPIRG’s website in which the group “aims to provide tangible resources and training to equip Regina’s next generation to be keepers of their community, defenders of the transparent democratic process, and protectors of society’s vulnerable members.”
Lewis makes a note to say that not all of the food is for Carmichael Outreach, and that the Green Patch is here to support the campus community as well.
“Although we donate most of our produce to Carmichael Outreach, a local community organization, the garden is for anyone to enjoy – we want students to both learn about gardening but also be able to access free food if they need it. So please come by and grab some veggies!”
Interested students are able to sign up early to be a volunteer for next year’s garden on the RPIRG website.