Campus to Feature Sustainable Produce Garden

Posted: March 30, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: March 29, 2010 at 12:33 pm

By Dave Andrews

A well-rounded college campus is a place of learning, socializing and now … gardening. The Office of Sustainability will be breaking ground this week on a sustainable produce garden on Mason’s Fairfax Campus.

The project is being launched in cooperation with the Fairfax County Restoration Project (FCRP) and the Transurban-Fluor Capital Beltway Project Community Grant Program. A ceremony to mark the occasion will take place at the lower courtyard of Potomac Heights Residence Hall on Friday, April 2, at 1 p.m.

The community garden will provide produce for the campus community and local food banks, as well as create a place for students to learn and practice sustainable gardening.

FCRP, a partnership of nonprofit environmental groups, county agencies, businesses and individual citizens, has assisted Mason’s Office of Sustainability in securing funding and resources necessary for the garden project to take shape.

“Having a produce garden right here on our campus gives our students a very unique opportunity to learn about sustainability, as well as how to market the produce to the university and surrounding community,” says Lenna Storm, manager of Mason’s Office of Sustainability.

“A critical aspect to the sustainability of the garden is that it provides native plant habitat for area bees and pest predators, in addition to the vegetables,” said Jim McGlone of the Virginia Department of Forestry.

A $5,000 grant from the Transurban-Fluor Capital Beltway Project Community Grant Program provided the funding for plant material and supplies for the community garden. The grant program supports communities in the neighborhoods surrounding the project, which extends along the Capital Beltway HOT Lanes corridor. The program also supports grassroots or nonprofit organizations that offer significant benefit to these local communities.

Mason’s Office of Sustainability strives to foster a sense of personal responsibility for the local and global communities of which Mason is a part. By encouraging participation in projects like the garden, the office builds community understanding around concepts of sustainability.

For more information, contact Danielle Wyman, sustainability projects specialist, at 703-993-7725 or dwyman@gmu.edu.

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