May 4, 2009 by Louie Calderon NMSU News Center
New Mexico State University’s Housing and Residential Life has constructed two community gardens at family housing areas to encourage food sustainability and to strengthen relationships.
The community gardens, which coincide with NMSU Interim President Waded Cruzado’s call for the Year of Sustainability, will allow residents to strengthen community relationships, save money and grow fresh vegetables.
“Using land to grow your own food is what sustainability is all about,” said Julie Weber, director of Housing and Residential Life.
Weber said that in choosing the locations, it was important to construct the gardens in an area where there is year-round population.
“People in the community have been ecstatic and it has brought residents together,” said Jake Kassis, community assistant for Housing and Residential Life.
Kassis was given the task of surveying the family housing area and deciding the best location for the gardens.
The first community garden will be used by Cole Village and Tom Fort residents and is located at the corner of Fabian Garcia and Standley. The second garden will be used by Sutherland Village residents and is located at the corner of Gregg and Poe Drive.
Lots in the garden are rented at no cost and only require filling out a form. The lots come in three sizes – small, which are between 15-30 square feet; medium, which are between 30-45 square feet; and large, which are about 45 square feet.
Weber said the construction of the community gardens has been a collaborative effort between NMSU faculty and staff.
The NMSU Grounds Care Department installed the watering systems and Tim Darden, interim assistant division director of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture Feed Seed and Fertilizer Bureau, donated 150 packs of seeds to get the gardens started.
Master Gardeners, knowledgeable gardeners who assist the local NMSU Cooperative Extension Service office and provide county residents with gardening information, will be providing lessons to family housing residents about maintaining their garden. Also, NMSU’s Campus Dining will provide free cooking lessons to teach residents ways to use fresh vegetables.
“We only ask that people tend to their garden and take good care of the space itself,” Weber said.
Cruzado will place the first plant in the ground at the ceremonial first planting at the community garden located at the corner of Fabian Garcia and Standley.
Weber said future plans for expanding the community gardens include possibly constructing a children’s garden and more community gardens at various student housing locations.
For more information contact Housing and Residential Life at (575) 646-3202.