Campus Life

New community garden to support campus sustainability, combat food insecurity

Construction was recently completed on “Petey’s Garden,” a community garden outside the Turner Lynch Campus Center. Consisting of four raised beds and a small greenhouse, the garden will be a place where the Oglethorpe community can grow affordable and low-impact food, learn new horticultural skills, and support campus biodiversity.

Four plant beds in Petey's Garden with growing crops

The four plant beds of Petey’s Garden

Overseen by Director of Environmental Studies and Professor of Biology Dr. Roarke Donnelly, this new garden is one of several sustainability initiatives planned for the upcoming academic year.

The space will be managed in a way that aims to reduce the Oglethorpe community’s ecological footprint, with a focus on minimizing use of commercial fertilizers, use of well water, and transport of food products.

Providing a sustainable, low-cost food source will also support campus efforts to help Oglethorpe students experiencing food insecurity. Petey’s Pantry, an on-campus food pantry, was started last year by members of the Student Government Association to help their fellow Petrels who may not be able to afford meals. Some of the crops cultivated from Petey’s Pantry are expected to be donated to this cause.

The original community garden project was started by the Environmentally Conscious Oglethorpe Students in 2013 behind Goodman Hall. The beds were home to a wide variety of plants. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, melons, herbs and flowers flourished under the watchful eye of students, staff, and faculty.

Beginning this upcoming academic year, Oglethorpe University joins several peer Georgia institutions in becoming an Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus. Using the robust framework provided by foundation, the university will commit to maintaining a healthy, green campus, benefiting both the community and the environment. A committee of students, faculty and staff will be formed to provide input and guide projects.

Members of the Oglethorpe community are encouraged to apply to adopt one of the four garden boxes for a growing season. Interested applicants may contact Dr. Roarke Donnelly for details.

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