Student organic garden begins fourth year at Gettysburg College

Providing organic produce for local food banks is only the beginning for Gettysburg College's student garden, which began its fourth year of operation with a volunteer work day on April 20.

Painted Turtle Farm, as the garden is known, "helps open people's eyes to the dangers of using stronger and stronger chemicals that run off into the ecosystem and eventually affect human health," said student director Danielle Bates, a junior from Littlestown, Pa., who is majoring in environmental studies.

Through food banks, the garden also provides access to organic food for people who normally cannot afford it, said Bates, who worked on the garden as an intern this past summer. Some produce, especially herbs, also goes to the campus Dining Center. In turn, waste from the Dining Center becomes compost for the garden , completing a "sustainable loop."  Finally, the interns at Painted Turtle Farm offer summer educational programs to local children, using the garden as a classroom.

Gibbon Wilson"We wanted to increase dialogue about sustainable food on campus and in the community," said Freya Gibbon, a 2007 graduate who worked with environmental studies Prof. Randy Wilson to establish the garden in 2005. Gibbon, who now does greenhouse work at a Gettysburg-area orchard and winery, attended this year's opening day and was pleased to see dozens of volunteers at work in the garden. (Gibbon and Wilson are above; photos by Jim Hale)

"It's so awesome see how many people are out here today," said Christine Urbanowicz, a senior environmental studies major from Riegelsville, Pa., who is the garden's assistant student director. "I didn't realize how many people care about sustainability and a green campus."

Garden volunteersThe garden's 70-by 80-foot plot and nine 24-by-4-foot raised beds produce lettuce, radishes, beets, turnips, peas, perennial herbs, tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons, onions, pumpkins, corn, and celery.

The garden is on the northwest corner of campus between the West Building and the Observatory.

Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with approximately 2,600 students. It is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. The college was founded in 1832.

Contact: Jim Hale, online content editor

Posted April 22, 2009

Posted: Wed, 22 Apr 2009

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