Mercy Community Garden
The Mercy Community Garden at Georgian Court University is a new and growing educational component of our campus landscape. Like the natural systems it is modeled after, it is organic and multi-purposed. It serves to meet immediate nutritional needs within the community surrounding GCU, while providing opportunities for students, faculty and alumni to serve and learn together.
The Garden consists of four major components; a 4000 square foot vegetable production area, a native plant area, an outdoor classroom, and turf walkways. All are managed under sustainable land care practices, and integrate into the goals of both our larger campus sustainability initiatives and Metedeconk River Watershed restoration efforts. Our garden manager is a NOFA-NJ member with extensive training in organic land care.
Our family demonstration gardens support a great diversity of vegetable plants, while our larger spaces produce high-volume crops for donation, and allow for us to research which varieties work best in our area. Last spring and fall we grew cool-season crops like lettuce, spinach and cabbage, while our summer production focused on tomatoes and peppers. We are now experimenting with year-round harvests, using cold frames to shelter our crops from frost. Composting has also begun in three 4’ x 8’ composting corrals. The resulting compost will be used to build our sandy, compacted soils to their full potential.
The Mercy Garden also uses self-watering containers to export both food and gardening skills. Constructed from new 5-gallon paint buckets and other simple hardware, these mobile gardens will be constructed in family workshops and transported to the urban living spaces which otherwise do not have the soil needed to grow plants. Similar self-watering container workshops have recently been successfully implemented in conjunction with food pantries, housing authority partners, and a charter school in other projects our staff has been involved with.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA