April 03, 2012


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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — A groundbreaking ceremony for the Bucknell Lewisburg Community Garden will be held Saturday, April 7, at noon, at the corner of Water Street and St. Anthony Street in Lewisburg.

Robert Midkiff, associate provost at Bucknell, will lead the event. Invited dignitaries are Lewisburg Mayor Judy Wagner, Lewisburg Borough manager Chad Smith and members of the Lewisburg Borough Council.

"The Borough of Lewisburg is generously allowing us to create a Community Garden that is over 12,000 square feet," said Stacey Sommerfield, assistant director of service learning at Bucknell.

"This will allow us enough room to create 22 plots for individuals, families, or groups interested in gardening. The other half of the space will be a larger plot in which volunteers will grow produce to supplement local meal programs, including Community Harvest in Milton," she said.

In preparation for the groundbreaking, 40 student volunteers have planted more than 1,000 seedlings to be both sold as a fundraiser, and to be used in the garden. The seedlings are being grown in the biology building greenhouse. In addition, staff from Bucknell Facilities have been helping to till the site and move compost.

Bucknell has been examining issues of food waste, production, and insecurity with special educational programs this year. "It is our goal, and it will most likely take more than just this school year, to have the garden planted, to decrease the amount of food waste on campus, to eventually set up a food recovery program and to establish an interfaith council that will help in these efforts," said Rabbi Serena Fujita, Jewish chaplain at Bucknell.

"Other student volunteer efforts include a Management 101 company that has committed to raise money for us and a student group, the Boston Posse IV, that is going to help."

First-year student Hannah Bowen said, "I feel that growing food is empowering for anyone who is involved in the process; many people are disconnected from the food that they put into their body.

"Understanding where one's food comes from, feeling the dirt and the sun and the water that nurtures seeds to be sprouts and then into plants which give our bodies nourishment is a simple but extremely powerful process, one that I believe can heal a seemingly broken society.

"I think this project has great potential to strengthen the Lewisburg community, bringing people together to learn and grow, and I would love to see it plant the seeds for other similar community-driven local food efforts, " she said.

A joint effort of the Office of Civic Engagement and Campus Jewish Life, the Community Garden is part of the Feeding Our Hearts, Expanding Our Vision initiative, in response to the White House Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. The year-long initiative focuses on food access and security with the intention of increasing resources for local food programs that serve the needy as well as reducing food waste on campus.

Fujita and Janice Butler, director of civic engagement and service-learning at Bucknell, attended the launch of the Initiative at the White House in August 2011. || Related news story

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