May 19, 2010
Aspiring gardeners from Queen's and the Kingston area will have a chance to exercise their green thumbs this spring in the university's new community garden.
The pilot project will include 16 small beds - measuring approximately three feet by seven feet each - in a plot of land beside "the Stone House" at 300 Sir John A. Macdonald Blvd. This property has traditionally been used by the Faculty of Education.
"There's a nice green space on the north side of the house that will be ideal for growing produce, flowers and other plants," says Sustainability Manager Aaron Ball. "We hope the community garden will contribute to people's health and well-being, positive social interactions and sustainable urban living."
Originally proposed by a Mechanical and Materials Engineering student and a Chemistry professor, the project has captured the interest of other units including the Faculty of Education, the university's food services supplier, Sodexo Canada, the Alma Mater Society, the Society for Graduate and Professional Students and the Main Campus Residents' Council. Mr. Ball says sustainability outreach events, speakers and other educational uses are possibilities for the future.
"There is no better way to promote sustainable practices than direct, first-hand experiences, obtained through working with the soil as in gardening," says Education professor Zabe MacEachren. "So it's nice to see a university and community members come together through this kind of shared access to garden space. We are not just growing plants - we're growing a type of environmental thinking."
The garden's raised beds, each with a double-walled spruce perimeter, were designed by Living Cities, the student-initiated environmental company responsible for Queen's worm composting program. Installation is scheduled for the end of May.
Individual plots are available at an annual (May 1 to October 31) rate of $25. This covers maintenance costs and some shared gardening tools.
Visit www.queensu.ca/sustainability for more information and updates.