Spring is right around the corner, and Salt Lake Community College is giving students the opportunity to learn about gardening, volunteer in the gardens, or rent a plot for their own personal use.
Taking advantage of this opportunity can be beneficial to students in a few ways, according to Max Corwin, an AmeriCorps VISTA member who oversees the campus gardens. He says the gardens produce major benefits, the main one being providing food.
“The gardens provide fresh healthy produce to the pantries, which is then available to students, faculty, and staff in need,” he says.
With individual plots, Corwin says it can be a more budget-friendly option for students to grow their own fruits and vegetables.
“Fresh produce can be expensive and hard to find in certain neighborhoods,” he adds. “So those who need it most end up getting top-notch stuff from the gardens.”
The other main benefit of volunteering at the gardens, or renting a plot, is that it teaches people to garden.
“If someone is unable to afford fresh produce, they can learn to grow it themselves and be self-sufficient, or more realistically, use the gardens to supplement other grocery shopping,” Corwin explains. “For people who can easily afford to buy fresh produce at a grocery store or farmer’s market, they can still gain from the garden by learning how to grow food themselves, which can lead to healthier eating.”
The gardening opportunities available at SLCC are often overlooked.
“I [was one of two] individuals who rented boxes at Jordan last season,” says Susanna Garcia, the garden coordinator at Jordan Campus.
Students can rent a plot as a group or club, or, as an individual. Time is of the essence however, as spots are filling up.
Corwin says that with 27 spots filled, there are about 13-23 individual plots left. There are also plots available for volunteers to grow for the Bruin Pantry.
“The amount of plots available to renters can fluctuate. If 70 people really wanted plots, I would probably make it happen,” he says. “I’d like to say that, as many are available as people who would like to sign up.”
Students can sign up to volunteer, or rent a plot, through the SLCC Gardens website. The website has a step-by-step guide for signing up, making it simple and quick.