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Community garden to spring up on campus

January 27, 2010

There is good news for those with green thumbs at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus. A community garden will open for business on campus next to the intersection of Tahoe Avenue and Twining Street in March. Students, faculty and staff are invited to be a part of it.

“We’ll have eight plots that are 20 by 30 feet – large enough to divide into several smaller plots,” said Jehnifer Niklas, program coordinator with the Global Institute of Sustainability. “We encourage first-time gardeners to split the plots, as they are quite sizable.”

Niklas said that initial construction is being funded by an infrastructure grant the Garden Advisory Board received. The projected fee for the first year’s growing season – March through May 2010 – is $70, which includes a refundable $20 deposit to cover water use and plot care as well as a $10 fee for ongoing improvements to the garden. In the future, the growing season will cover the full academic year, from September to May, and the fee will be $130.

“We are following a classic model for community gardens,” Niklas said. “Plots are awarded on a first-come first-serve basis. A wait list will be formed once all eight plots are filled, and the Garden Advisory Board will provide both guidance and seasonal workshops for the community.”

According to Niklas, the Garden Committee plans to work with campus engineers and artists to create a recycled-metal garden fence for security and to discourage wildlife. Composting facilities also will be available to produce organic fertilizer for gardeners’ use.

Polytechnic’s Sustainability Committee, established a year ago as part of a university-wide effort to improve sustainable practices coordinated by the Global Institute of Sustainability, identified the creation of a community garden as one of its three primary goals. The committee also has worked to facilitate student involvement with sustainability initiatives and seeks to create a more effective, inclusive recycling program at the campus.

The Garden Committee hopes to establish an arrangement with Mesa United Food Bank in order to allow gardeners to donate any unwanted or excess produce from their plots.

Community gardeners and volunteers will install drip irrigation and fencing, build planting beds, and spread mulch on Jan 30. A ribbon cutting is planned for March to kick off the spring growing season.

If you are interested in becoming a part of the garden community, contact Further information about sustainability efforts at all three ASU campuses can be found at

Kari Stallcop, (480) 727-1173
Public Affairs at ASU Polytechnic campus