A Garden With A View

Photos by Brandon Parigo, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

UMKC Community Garden Moves to Student Union

The UMKC Community Garden has a new home on top of the UMKC Student Union.

The rooftop garden has two raised beds that were adopted by Gwen Rudd, Savannah Porter and Roland Hemmings, staff at the Student Union and staff advisers of the UMKC Garden Collective Student Organization. Rudd and Porter will head up the rooftop garden volunteer staff to plant herbs and vegetables in the raised beds. The new project involves only two beds this summer, but the group is hopeful to adopt the middle bed next summer.

Two UMKC students started the first garden project in the spring of 2009. The first location was on the lawn south of the School of Education and later moved to 5306 Holmes. Since then, students, faculty, staff and community members have harvested arugula, collards and other greens, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, radishes and squash. As the produce was harvested, students set up a table in the quad to give away the garden-fresh produce and ask people to become involved in future urban farm projects.

Rudd and Porter have advised the Garden Collective Student Organization for the past two years at the 5306 Holmes location. The Garden Collective paired with Harvesters to help feed students and local community members in need.

In 2016, The Garden Collective was invited to be a part of the UMKC Sustainability Team. As a thank you for participation in 2016 RecycleMania, Coca-Cola awarded a bench made of recycled PET for placing 2nd place in the Grand Champion category. This bench was planted in the UMKC community garden

This spring, the community garden was moved to the Student Union rooftop in order to foster greater student involvement.

“This is a good way to utilize the garden space by growing something that is consumable,” said Steve Jenks, supervisor of UMKC Landscaping. Jenks said the roof garden is a permaculture space, which means the landscape is comprised of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

In May, volunteers planted a variety of peppers, tomatoes and herbs which will be open to students, campus partners and community members to take from at their leisure. All leftover produce will be donated to Harvesters. The garden is a project by students, for students and the community. To help with the UMKC Community Gardens, go to the Roo Groups website and join Garden Collective.

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