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Garden plot will connect the campus, grow food and people


September 30, 2010

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IUPUI’s first urban garden, on the south flank of the Science Building, is shaping up to be a civic engagement experiment befitting an urban research university.

Installation will take place on Oct. 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to include:

  • Assembly and positioning of 18 raised beds
  • Bed preparation to create a loamy growing medium; an open-faced sandwich with a bottom layer of cardboard to suppress weeds, a filling of topsoil and compost and a dressing crop of winter rye which will be dug in come spring
  • Creation of mulched footpaths among the beds

The list of the garden’s internal and external partners continues to grow, with a pivotal meeting coming up on Sept. 30 where many campus stakeholders will discuss making the plot into a learning laboratory across disciplines.

There are many contributors and exciting ideas for using the garden space, some still a gleam in the eye and some very close to fruition, thanks to the early project champions. Stay tuned.

Here are some alphabetical highlights of people and progress:

Alternative Energy Group

  • Provided salvage lumber for repurposing as raised bed frames

Biology Department—Dawn Bauman, greenhouse manager

  • Will raise the seedlings that will go into the beds come spring

Campus Facility Services—Ken Breece, landcape crew leader and accredited master horticulturist

  • Great general support of the project
  • Helped to determine a suitable home for the first campus urban garden

Department of Earth Sciences—Professor Gabe Filippelli, geobiochemist

  • Provided students to test the soil prior to the garden’s installation
  • Conducted sampling and analysis of the soil for lead contamination (fret not: levels were found to be extremely low – no precautions necessary)

Developing IUPUI Gardens Sustainably (DIGS, a faculty, student and staff group)—Rachel Bennett, coordinator

  • Now has 97 students
  • Will provide the installation labor, and further along, the people power for planting, growing and harvesting
  • Will work on where the food goes once its grown
  • Will determine a student garden manager

Herron School of Art and Design –Matt Groshek, public scholar of planning, exhibition and design

  • Early idea champion
  • Overall project coordination
  • Develop participation across campus and Herron disciplines

IUPUI Food Service—Dave Bradley, executive chef

  • Chartwell’s is offering food scraps to be turned into garden compost

IUPUI Garden Committee—Colleen McCormick, co-chair

  • Determine what will be planted come spring
  • Planning for continuation of the garden as a permanent presence on campus

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful—Ginny Roberts, director of educational initiatives

  • Offering its equipment truck for the day of installation
  • Offering expertise on planting and managing community gardens

Mark M. Holeman and Company—Trent Spence, financial manager

  • Donating mulch, topsoil and compost

Office of Environmental Health and Safety—Rich Strong, director

  • General project support
  • Purchase of garden sign

Sullivan Hardware at 49th and Pennsylvania—Jay Snyder, owner, Bill Ballard, manager and garden expert

  • Supplied the hardware for the raised bed frames