Support for campus garden an easy sell

With overwhelming support from University of Lethbridge students, as well as several departments and organizations on campus, it's no surprise the University of Lethbridge Students' Union (ULSU) recently allotted $17,000 from the QIP (Quality Initiative Program) budget to provide start-up funding for the Campus Roots Garden Cooperative.

"The garden is a great project; not only is it a way to build the U of L community, it's a way to improve the environment and change the way we think about food," says Adam Vossepoel, ULSU president.

Construction of the garden is slated to begin April 18-19, and will be the first sustainable cooperative garden project at the University of Lethbridge.

Students, staff and faculty will utilize the space one of two ways: through a private plot, for those who wish to devote more time to growing their herbs and vegetables, or through the cooperative portion, for those who have less time or experience but are nonetheless interested in participating.

"This will provide a great opportunity for members of the U of L community to relax during some of the countless hours they spend on campus," says Kyle Robinson, the U of L student who spearheaded the community garden project after watching a video on the topic.
"We are striving to find new ways to reduce our reliance on what we take, and I thought putting a garden on campus was a great way to put our words into action."

Robinson undertook extensive research on existing cooperative gardens to choose a model that would best meet the needs of U of L community members.

"What's cool about this garden is it will be kind of a showcase of the mix of what works best on other campuses across Canada," he says.

The garden will be located near the Park Way Service Building, close to the south end of campus.

"When we first got word of where the garden would be, we weren't sure if the location was ideal because it is so far away," says Robinson, adding that he now realizes the location is actually quite strategic after learning there are several developments planned for the area.

Judging by the feedback Robinson has received on the project so far, the Campus Roots Cooperative Garden will inevitably be a success with students, staff and faculty alike.

"The QIP funding approval doesn't only show what a few representatives want, but is reflective of what the students, staff and faculty on campus want," says Robinson.

Vossepoel agrees, adding that a legacy will be established once the garden is complete.

"Part of the ULSU's role is to build student life and culture at the U of L," says Vossepoel. "This cooperative garden is being developed by students, for students; naturally, we give our full support to the initiative, which will benefit the U of L community for years to come."