New town-gown Community Garden encourages sustainable food options
When the first seeds sprouted in her plot in the Community Garden at UT Arlington, alumna Julie Sullivan, above, brought her granddaughter to help tend them.
“She’s only 3, but she loves to help me water plants,” the 1989 accounting graduate says.
The two are enjoying a bountiful harvest. Sullivan planted many things—squash, okra, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, cantaloupe. “It’s surprising how much you can plant in each plot,” she says.
Located in the northwest corner of the campus, the Community Garden opened in March and is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between UT Arlington and the city. With nearly 80 plots, a tool shed, picnic areas, a rainwater harvesting system, and plans to donate 50 percent of the produce, the garden brings people with a green thumb together while benefiting the community.
“While the garden’s ultimate job is to produce healthy food, it also will surely instill a sense of ownership and philanthropy in those who care for it,” says Bill Gilmore, assistant director of the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department. “Its construction is another example of the city and UT Arlington’s commitment to building a vibrant downtown community in central Arlington.”
For the gardeners it represents a chance to connect with others while doing something wholesome.
“It’s a good way to get out in the sunshine and meet new people,” Sullivan says, “and it’s interesting to talk to the other gardeners and see their gardening styles.”
Apart from the sense of community, there’s also the pure pleasure of growing food from scratch. “It’s a great opportunity to grow some healthy fruits and vegetables—or at least try to,” she says. “There’s nothing like eating fresh vegetables from your own garden.”