(This post is co-authored by the students on the Steering Committee- Anna Belous, Wei-ting Chen, Raychel Santo and Audrey Swanenberg)
Starting last spring with an idea for a bigger and better community garden at Hopkins, Real Food Hopkins and the fellow student group and JHU administrative collaborators – who soon joined in from Campus Kitchens to the Office of Sustainability – had no idea what we were in for! We might have secured a plot on the Eastern Campus, but we were completely overwhelmed by how to mobilize community groups, gardening experts, and other interested individuals into action! Sure we had the land, but without the hands, tools, and time, would this garden make it?
The community meeting we held this past Thursday (November 3, 2011) helped ease our minds a bit on this issue and motivate us to continue forward with this promising endeavor. With around twenty-five individuals from Hopkins and the surrounding community showing up to offer their suggestions, experience, and commitment, our fears of being alone in this community-wide endeavor were assuaged!
We jotted down many suggestions and feedback from meeting attendees and will be meeting over the next couple of weeks to mull over different garden configurations. Unlike in most neighborhood-based community gardens where small core groups of families and individuals are able to commit to a full year of planning and planting work, we need to make sure we balance the needs and schedules of different gardeners and volunteers. Student and faculty gardeners are not likely to be around Baltimore during the height of the growing season (mid-May – August), so we just have to rely on committed individuals to tend to their plots!
During the meeting, interested members were able to sign up for plots, volunteer opportunities and express interest in joining future planning efforts. Please check back daily for more updates as we finalize our plans! Thank you to everyone who came to this meeting and showed us support for this new project.
Tomorrow pictures from the meeting will be posted, so stay tuned!
Also, you can access the presentation here.