Environmental Adventure Club
Using money raised through a crowd-funding platform sponsored by our Alumni Department, the UMSL Environmental Adventure Organization and Sustainability Office built and planted a brand new campus community garden.
Members of the campus community (including students, staff, and employees of nearby businesses) are able to plant and play in the garden. .
Through the month March 2015, the team used an online campaign to raise awareness & funds. After the crowd-funding campaign ended, it was determined that six beds could be built with the money raised. Bed designs were decided upon, and materials were ordered. In a very successful groundbreaking event, volunteers help build the raised beds at a site near the prairie restoration happening on the South Campus. Later, mulch was spread between the beds, applications were submitted to decide which teams would maintain which beds, and the beds were finally planted by June. Since then, a hose cart and compost bins have been installed, and plans have been made to coordinate with other local community gardens to share resources.
MISTAKES & LESSONS LEARNED
The biggest lesson learned was that on our commuter campus, finding dedicated volunteers during the summer growing season can be difficult. Thankfully, we started with a smaller number of garden beds and found enough volunteers to care for each bed.
The number of garden beds was completely dictated by the amount of money raised. In the future, application fees will help support any maintenance & supplies needed. If interest expands beyond the number of available beds, we’ll allow the option for a group to pay to build another bed at the site. The bed design was reasonably priced, given that we chose cinder blocks as building materials to ensure that the beds wouldn’t need as much repair and upkeep as they would had they been built with wooden boards.
We are planning for the day when we will “outgrow” the site and need to put in new beds in other areas of campus. We’d love to see little pocket community gardens in multiple locations around campus.