St. Paul’s GreenHouse student opens campus community garden
Guest blog by Lexi Salt
Thursday, May 22 was a very important day for me, for St. Paul’s University College, and I would argue, for the entire university. On this day, the St. Paul’s Community Garden officially opened!
My name is Lexi Salt and I founded the St. Paul’s Community Garden. I am a 4A International Development student and an active member of the St. Paul’s community. I am also a member of St. Paul’s GreenHouse, which is the University of Waterloo’s social innovation hub where this idea grew, and the Campus Coordinator for the Ontario Campus Food Systems Project, which is a Meal Exchange initiative that strives to build more local and sustainable food systems on campus.
Encouraging food production opportunities on campus and allowing students to “get their hands dirty” is a very important part of this mission. Chartwells, our food service provider here at St. Paul’s, has agreed to purchase our produce at market value to be used in Watson’s, the St. Paul’s cafeteria. Therefore, this is more than just a community garden - it is a social enterprise. The revenue generated will be reinvested back into the garden so that it can be self-sustaining year after year. Additionally, a portion of the profits will be donated to INDEVOURS to support the field placements of International Development students. The goals of the community garden are to raise awareness about sustainable food systems, provide access to fresh, local food and foster community building.
So, I would like to modify my initial statement. I believe that the effects of the St. Paul’s Community Garden will reach beyond just UWaterloo and will set an example for other university campuses across the country. In fact, it already has. Due to my relationship with Chartwells on this project, they have now created a guide for all community gardens on Canadian campuses to help other universities do the same thing and grow local, sustainable food. Therefore, this is so much more than just gardening; this is about creating systematic change!
I want to emphasize that all of this would not have been possible without the support of our partners, St. Paul’s University College, Chartwells, and Waterloo Environment Student Endowment Fund, as well as my co-workers Andrea Chesney, Matthew Belanger, Sharita Henry and Michelle Lee.
For more information on the St. Paul’s Community Garden, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit us on Facebook. If you are interested in volunteering, please sign-up; we would love to have you participate.