Slideshow: UF edible landscaping builds vegetable beds on campus
By Sara Drumm
Most people know about the campus bat houses, where about 300,000 bats live, emerging at dusk as a crowd of waiting people watch. Less well-known are the Student Agricultural Gardens, 77 plots of land next to the bat houses that students, faculty and members of the community can rent for $10 or $20 per semester.
Castillo takes a quick break while sawing planks of wood, which came from trees around campus, for the club's first raised vegetable bed. Castillo said he grew herbs and vegetables at home in Venezuela, but he has never "seriously" gardened before. Korman, who is writing her master's thesis on school gardens that she built in Alachua County, has more experience, but still hopes that people with specialized knowledge -- such as how to combat pests organically -- will take an interest in the club.
Korman, Castillo and Mark Clark, left to right, an associate professor for UF's Soil and Water Science Department, level out the foundation for the first raised vegetable bed. Clark is a faculty adviser for the Agronomy-Soils Club, which managed the Student Agricultural Gardens until recently. Now, the Office of Sustainability has appointed a garden intern, whom Clark oversees, to help manage the gardens. The Eternally Edible Landscaping Club will also help by posting useful information on a kiosk, hosting seminars and providing a contact list for those who use the gardens. Korman said she hopes her efforts will encourage people to work together and share ideas.
Clark said he doesn't use the Student Agricultural Gardens but that he does garden at home. "I tend to consider it recreation and mental relaxation," he said. "There's a certain aspect of self-reliance in feeding yourself."