Published on March 28th, 2017 | by Danika Thiele0
Campus Garden Club in full bloom
Florida Southern’s rose gardens are renown, but what about vegetable gardens?
Enter the Garden Club.
The Florida Southern Garden Club, one of the newest student-lead clubs on campus, was recently created to promote a healthy lifestyle and increase campus food security. The Garden Club’s main purpose is to “increase student awareness of organic foods and healthy life choices while giving them skills in garden management.”
Decreased food insecurity and increased healthy lifestyles are the goals of the Garden Club.
This statement echoes sentiments felt by 2016-17 SGA president Chase Hoyt shown through recent efforts towards sustainability with an increase in recycling options and water-fill stations.
Senior Taylor Paulin currently presides as president of the Garden Club. The group has met several times this semester to discuss important details, including meeting and volunteer ideas.
“While enjoying flowers and plant life is great, knowing how to grow our own food can be beneficial to anyone and everyone,” Paulin said. “Especially because of Florida’s climate, many types of plants are able to be grown year-round. A knowledge of gardening is valuable information for anyone to have…I’m hoping more students will want to be involved to have fun, get some cool information and make a positive impact on the environment.”
The Garden Club is advised by Professor of Biology Eric Kjellmark. An advocate for student-lead farming, Kjellmark hopes the club will successfully create, manage and maintain a campus garden. Though the details of this garden are still uncertain, it will contain various vegetables and herbs in an effort to promote a more food-secure atmosphere on campus.
“I hope we are able to introduce students to gardening as a hobby and teach them some basic gardening skills,” Kjellmark said. “I also hope to help students learn that they can grow some of their own food. While this may not be possible on Florida Southern’s campus, students who live off campus may be able to grow small amounts of flowers or vegetables in containers.”
According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, about one-third of community college students go hungry and 14 percent are homeless. Feeding America, a national nonprofit network of food banks that provides food assistance to 46.5 million individuals and 15.5 million households, estimates that nearly half of its clients in college must choose between educational expenses and food annually, and that 21 percent did so for a full 12 months.
In addition to increased food security on campus, Paulin plans to promote environmental advocacy through the club’s meetings, events and fundraising efforts. The Garden Club is currently working to organize a bee conservation awareness event and community-wide flower fair in the near future.
Garden Club logo courtesy of the Garden Club.