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Community garden reopens in new location

Photo by Brady Lovig | Staff Photographer

On April 9, Drake University students and faculty celebrated the relocation of the Sprout Garden to Carpenter Avenue and 30th Street. 

“There’s educational components, there’s health components, there’s food security components that I think are all great benefits of the garden,” assistant director of Drake’s Community and Engaged Learning  staff and supervisor of the student garden coordinator Amanda Martin said.

Martin said the garden was previously located on Forest and 24th Street.

“With the construction happening there with the Des Moines public schools system, the soccer stadium construction project, we needed to find a new location for the garden,” Martin said.

Renee Sedlacek Lee, the director of the CEL staff, and Martin both spoke at the ribbon cutting.

“It really is just to get people out into the new relocated area so that they can see just how pretty it is,” Sprout Garden student garden coordinator Martee Rutledge said. “We kind of hope that it’s just going to be like a comfortable green space for Drake students as well.”

Rutledge is currently developing a committee for the garden.

“Gardens need a group of people, and they are really a democratic space,” Rutledge said. “The people that I have on the committee right now they already have a focus in urban agriculture, but this is an on-campus opportunity for them to kind of show and put their input and give their ideas as to how we can grow and get better.”

Sophomore Jacob Lish, a member of the garden committee, is launching a project that will help Drake students get involved in the garden.

Lish discovered that Luther College had composts in all of their academic buildings and residence halls. He is hoping to have residence halls mirror this composting strategy to collect compost for the Sprout Garden. 

“That’s providing a learning opportunity for the students at Drake,” Rutledge said. “Even if they don’t have an interest in that agriculture aspect, they can still contribute in that small way if they wanted to.”

The Drake Environmental Action League  piloted the compost plan for Earth Week, which took place April 12 to April 16.

Students who are interested in volunteering at the Sprout Garden should contact Rutledge at marlee.rutledge@drake.edu.

“Gardens need more than one person,” said Rutledge. “I really love gardening, but honestly the more people you have involved, the easier that it is.”

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