A Sustainable Summer: Colgate’s Community Garden

Cooper Lowell, Assistant Baker's Dozen Editor

Imagine a summer in Hamilton where your work takes you to a beautiful garden full of fruits, flowers and vegetables, all while surrounded by fellow Colgate students and the greater Hamilton community. This was the experience for those who worked with Colgate’s Community Garden. 

As interns for the Office of Sustainability, Senior Becca Kornblau, junior Robyn Landes and sophomore Rachel Plasky all got to see the garden — located between Colgate’s townhouse community and Good Nature Farm Brewery — transform and flourish over the course of the summer.

“It was cool to be in Hamilton when it was warm out, I feel like that was a big bonus. I was able to bike to the garden every morning, which was really nice,” Kornblau, who worked about three days a week, said. “It was honestly a really positive experience for me. I’m not one who loves physical labor a lot, but it was worth it to see everything grow over the summer.”

On top of the gardening work, interns also explored and learned about the greater community surrounding the Village of Hamilton.

“I learned a lot about organic agriculture, obviously,” Plasky said. “We had trips to a worm farm, a huge dairy farm and all these trips to places in the community. We met with different offices at Colgate like Environmental Health and Safety. So it was really interesting to learn about all these different processes happening in the larger community as well as at Colgate.”

Beyond all of the work in the garden, the future for campus sustainability seems bright. Landes spoke about how more volunteer hours will be opening up, allowing any Colgate student to get involved with gardening efforts. Landes also emphasized how members of the Hamilton community have a stake in the garden, with raised planting beds being rented out for whole seasons.

But, the part of the garden probably most noticed by Colgate students is the resurgence of the farmstand.

“The farmstand used to be there every year before COVID, but [in] 2020 and 2021 it didn’t happen. Now it’s starting again every Thursday in the Coop [from 11:15 a.m. until 1 p.m.]. Then […] we’re going to try to get food pantries on campus to take leftovers, then we also donate a lot to the Hamilton Food Cupboard,” Landes said.

For students studying environmental studies, opportunities like working at the Community Garden are great for expanding their knowledge and experience of the subject. But, this hands-on work is also open for those looking to follow their passions or to just get down in the dirt.

“The opportunity to do manual labor seemed kind of attractive,” Plasky remarked when asked about how she got involved with the garden. “Honestly, I was just so exhausted from doing academic work, so I was like, yeah, I could work out in a garden for however many hours a day.”

In somewhat randomly applying to this opportunity, Plasky learned a lot about finding out what you like to do.

“If you are interested in something, apply. You might end up being chosen; it just works out sometimes! And even if it’s not something [that] you’re going to pursue as a career, if it interests you, it’s worth exploring,” Plasky advised.

The garden will be hosting a Fall Festival on Sept. 30, so anyone who’s interested in seeing all that has been going on further down Broad Street should consider paying it a visit.