Colgate Increases Plans for Sustainability through Community Garden


Colgate’s Community Garden, which started in 2010, is dedicated to introducing local food production and sustainable agriculture to the campus community. Every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Community Garden interns set up a farmstand at the O’Connor Campus Center (COOP) to provide students with local and organically grown produce. Students can purchase healthy food from the farmstand with cash or with their ‘Gate Card.

In order to provide insight into some of the innovative ideas that can come with vegetable gardening, the Community Garden group plans to create a “demonstration area” and to hold cooking classes. On September 15, there will be a “Meet the Farmer” event at Frank Dining Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Students who work at the Community Garden will provide samples of produce from the garden to taste and will be available to answer questions.

According to Garden Manager Beth Roy, the aim of the farmstand and other activities such as the “Meet the Farmer” event is for the Community Garden to serve as an educational medium to teach students about sustainable living practices and how to garden with organic methods. 

“While what we can offer to them is a very small portion of the food they need to sustain their daily food needs, it is a great way to demonstrate that local food can make a difference in the carbon footprint we leave behind,” Roy said.

As Garden Manager of Colgate’s Community Garden, Roy incorporates her own education and experiences into her work.

“I joined the Colgate Community Garden team in 2013.  My background is in Psychology and I am certified as a Horticultural Therapist. I have gardened both as a hobby and part of my vocation.  I found the idea of [a] student-run garden intriguing and felt that my background and work ethic would allow me to be able to connect the garden to its community,” Roy said.

Roy spoke about improving the garden and on the importance of extending the garden’s reach to members of the Colgate community.

“My hopes are to continue to tailor the things that we grow to the needs and interests of students and faculty/staff. We also plan to increase our efforts to host educational events at the garden. We will continue to use social media, as well as utilize the Green Thumbs student group to reach out to students on-campus,” Roy said. 

Junior Jenna Walczak is one of the interns working for the Community Garden this semester. Some of her jobs in this position involve harvesting vegetables at the garden and working at the farmstand on Tuesdays.

Consistent with what Roy acknowledged, Walczak noted the significance of the Community Garden in acting as a tool to increase outreach and understanding for students.

“I like being involved with the sustainability movement and side of things at Colgate. I think it’s really fun interacting with people and getting to tell them about what we’re doing at the farm, and about growing their own food and showing them that they can do it and it’s not too hard,” Walczak said.

Some upcoming events that will be held by the Colgate Community Garden include a volunteer work party on Monday, September 14 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and an open house, with entertainment and food, that is scheduled to occur on Sunday, September 27 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.