GPC stu­dents, fac­ulty gar­den for a cause

The Covington News - - THE SECOND FRONT - DANIELLE EVER­SON de­v­er­son@cov­

Stu­dents and fac­ulty at New­ton’s Ge­or­gia Perime­ter Col­lege cam­pus are learn­ing about sus­tain­able liv­ing through a cam­pus gar­den that has pro­duced an ar­ray of veg­eta­bles to do­nate to a lo­cal food bank.

Sal­lie Paschal, an ad­viser to the Earth Club and a math pro­fes­sor at GPC, said as part of the South­ern As­so­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools pro­gram, GPC wanted stu­dents to be more in­volved with en­gag­ing sus­tain­able ac­tiv­i­ties.

Paschal said last year, the col­lege helped to fund and build a gar­den for stu­dents and fac­ulty, con­struct­ing raised beds.

The ob­jec­tives of the school’s gar­den were to en­cour­age more stu­dent in­volve­ment, pro­duce all or­ganic goods and to pro­vide a har­vest to go to char­ity.

Now, in its sec­ond year, the gar­den’s stu­dent and fac­ulty crops are teach­ing stu­dents about sus­tain­abil­ity.

“We want [stu­dents] to un­der­stand that food does not orig­i­nate at Kroger, and we want them to un­der­stand the dif­fer­ence be­tween the good­ness of be­ing or­ganic and what a sus­tain­able ac­tiv­ity is … and what that means for our fu­ture,” Paschal said.

Fac­ulty vol­un­teers are re­spon­si­ble for each plot, Paschal said, and stu­dents of those fac­ulty mem­bers par­tic­i­pate in the hands-on work in the gar­den.

For some fac­ulty mem­bers, teach­ing stu­dents about or­ganic gar­den­ing fits right into their cur­ricu­lum.

“One of [our] fac­ulty mem­bers is a so­ci­ol­ogy in­struc­tor, so he can make it part of his class. One of [his stu­dents’] re­quire­ments is to be work­ing, say an hour a week, in the gar­den as a part of his class,’’ she said.

Paschal said she helps fac­ulty mem­bers who aren’t fa­mil­iar with gar­den­ing learn how to plant and buy the cor­rect items for their plots.

“Sum­mer sea­son is about May un­til Septem­ber, and then in Septem­ber we will have our stu­dents come out and pull all of this up and put down com­post and other amend­ments,” she said.

“Then we will plant cool weather things — like your leafy spinach, let­tuces, ro­maine, arugula and things like that.

“We’ll do that all the way up un­til April, when we start back up for the sum­mer.”

Paschal said stu­dents and fac­ulty have planted toma­toes, okra, yel­low squash, zuc­chini, egg­plant, cherry toma­toes, green beans, peanuts and ba­nana and green pep­pers. She said flow­ers also were planted to at­tract bees for pol­li­na­tion.

She added that the pro­duce grown has been do­nated to The Com­mu­nity Food Bank.

“I have taken about 365 mea­sured pounds of pro­duce to the Com­mu­nity Food Bank [so] far since May,” she said.

“We are about mid-sea­son right now, so we’ll have at least that much more.”

“It’s just been a win, win, win,’’ Paschal said.

‘‘We get to teach our stu­dents new things and we get to give food to the food bank.”

Danielle Ever­son /The Cov­ing­ton News

GPC phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion pro­fes­sor Doug Casey tends to green beans planted in the or­ganic gar­den.

sub­mit­ted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

In the spring, Ge­or­gia Perime­ter Col­lege stu­dents and fac­ulty mem­bers pre­pared gar­den beds for a va­ri­ety of veg­etable plants.

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