WAUKESHA, WIS.— Two foundations have provided support for a garden on the Carroll University campus, which in turn helps meet the need of a valued community partner.
The Carroll Community Garden is a student initiative that unites environmental enterprise with community outreach. Established in spring 2011, the garden provides a volunteer opportunity for students, helps supply fresh produce to the Food Pantry of Waukesha County, and contributes green space to the neighborhood. In its first year, the garden yielded more than 50 pounds of food donations. Students volunteered for more than 80 hours, to plant, harvest and maintain the garden.
“The garden lets our students explore something new in a way that benefits the community,” said Katy Launius, AmeriCorps*VISTA and director of Carroll’s Volunteer Center. “It provides another opportunity for them to support and engage with the Food Pantry.”
A $3,000 Opus Opportunity Fund grant from the Opus Foundation™ helped support the role of a garden coordinator who trains and schedules volunteers. This summer, the consultant is Heather Ramirez, a senior environmental science major from Chicago, Ill. Funding also helps provide supplies such as plants and tools, and offset transportation costs for food donation delivery.
Carroll’s garden also has benefitted from the support of the Kettle Moraine Garden Club, which provided a $1,000 contribution to test, augment and amend the soil of the garden. Drainage on the site was an issue, and raised beds will improve yield. A second garden plot, new this year, will hopefully double the amount of produce donated to the food pantry.
Karen Tredwell, executive director of the Food Pantry of Waukesha County, said clients often request fresh produce. “The desire for healthier options is heartening, and we are delighted to benefit from Carroll’s garden. Carroll University has always been a community asset; this is more evidence of that.”
Heather Ramirez, a senior environmental science major, tends to the Carroll Community Garden with Pan Lam, a visiting student from Lingnan University in Hong Kong. (Credit Bridget Holtz)