Have you noticed the garden that recently sprung up at the back of Marian Hall?
Members of the Maria College Garden Group have been hard at work, transforming packed earth into a new thriving garden. The 24 x 45-foot plot is the new home to zucchinis, tomatoes, eggplant, corn, acorn squash, cucumbers, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, and green peppers.
In mid-May, garden club members rolled up their sleeves and wielded their shovels, undertaking the tough work of preparing the soil for planting. This included the discovery (and back-breaking removal!) of thick concrete slabs—possibly an old foundation to a building? We’d love to know what used to be there! Maria maintenance staff generously donated most of the plants now growing.
Prof. Lisa Deserre (OTA faculty) started the garden club this spring to offer students the opportunity to actively plan and maintain the garden. Explaining the history of the garden, Prof. Deserre states, “It is my understanding that the garden started last year at the request of the past president to supplement the campus’s food pantry with fresh produce. It was planted by maintenance staff and maintained by other staff who were on campus in the summer.”
All students and staff are invited to join, whether you are an experienced gardener with a green thumb, or a complete beginner. Whether you have experience to share, or you’re eager to learn, or if your motivation is to help feed others, please join us and get your hands in the dirt. There will be many garden tasks that can fit around any schedule, including watering, weeding, digging, and harvesting. All are encouraged to stop by throughout the season to take a break and enjoy the beauty of the changing garden.
Future ideas for the garden include an area for herbs, flowers, a decorative path, and opportunities to explore adaptive gardening (such as raised beds, wheelchair-accessible paths, adapted tools, etc)—great for all you future Occupational Therapy Assistants!
Gardening is a great way to stay active, enjoy the outdoors, and feel connected to nature and other people. Ian Schneider (OTA ’17) describes his motivation as, “a way to care for the earth and plants, and ultimately for people”.
Prof. Deserre explains, “I believe working with the soil and tending to growing plants has many health benefits and is a wonderful way to manage stress. We are hoping to continue to provide fresh produce to the food pantry and our neighborhood seniors as a way to meet our mission of “service to others”.”