A new plant nursery, situated beside the original St. Paul’s community garden, was inaugurated at a reception on Friday, June 2. The plant nursery was funded by a Chartwells Campus Project grant, and will help increase the food output of the St. Paul’s community garden, now run by UW Campus Market Garden.
“This long-awaited plant nursery is an essential addition to our gardening operation,” said Asha Virdee, UW Campus Market Garden coordinator, at the ribbon-cutting. "It provides an ideal space for growing and caring for our seedlings before they are transplanted into the ground."
The original garden was founded in 2014 by St. Paul's GreenHouse student (now staff) Lexi Salt. A partnership in 2015 with Steckle Heritage Homestead provided a much-larger plot for produce, which led to the establishment of a farmer's market. Subsequent partnerships with the UW Environmental Reserve in 2016 provided for 6,000 sq. ft. more, as well as with Waterloo Co-operative Residence Inc. (WCRI), which donated a small plot of land on their property.
"I'd like to thank Chartwells and St. Paul's for their efforts in helping us make this plant nursery happen. Your support over the years has been unwavering, and we are so thankful for your commitment to improving the sustainability of UW's food system," said Virdee. "Sustainable Campus Initiative, WCRI, and the Faculty of Environment have also been essential partners in the success of the Market Garden. Without all of you, we wouldn't be where we are today."
Jana Vodicka, Manager of Campus Engagement and Sustainability at Chartwells, said, “Ultimately, the students now have a space that allows them to take the food production of the St. Paul’s garden to the next level, and expand their learning and experimentation with the entire growing cycle of food crops. It really doesn’t get any more local than this!”
Students have been busy filling the plant nursery with seedlings to plant outdoors now that the temperature is warmer. A variety of food-producing bushes will be planted in proximity to further increase the variety of campus grown food for use in the Watson’s Eatery.
For more information or to volunteer, please contact UW Campus Market Garden at firstname.lastname@example.org.