March 17, 2011

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 81, Issue 8

NU wins funding for community vegetable garden

Niagara University students Erin McKenney (left) and LUna McGill (center) join ReNU Niagara Project Coordiantor Leehe Shmueli (right) in celebrating the recent announcement that NU will receive a $3,000 grant to institute a community vegetable garden on campus.

Niagara University students Erin McKenney (left) and LUna McGill (center) join ReNU Niagara Project Coordiantor Leehe Shmueli (right) in celebrating the recent announcement that NU will receive a $3,000 grant to institute a community vegetable garden on campus.

Niagara University, with an undergraduate enrollment of only 3,000 students, was able to take the top spot in a contest, sponsored by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and Grow WNY, garnering more votes than the University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, and SUNY Fredonia.  The prize was a $3,000 grant which will allow the construction of a community vegetable garden outside of DePaul Hall.  

Members of ReNU, a group that focuses on the improvement of Niagara Falls, and NUHOPE (Niagara University Helping Our Planet Earth) worked together on submitting a project proposal in December 2010. After the submission, a jury selected the four finalists for public voting on Facebook. The winners were announced at an event held at the Blue Sky Design in downtown Buffalo.

Not only will this garden allow students and the campus community to better understand their environment and self-sustainability, but it will also encourage students to become more involved in Niagara Falls, states Erin McKenny, senior ReNU member.

Niagara's biology club will be preparing seedlings in the university's greenhouse prior to the construction of the garden, which will begin sometime in late March or early April, once the weather becomes more suitable to outdoor gardening.

The $3,000 grant earned from the College Green Bowl Contest will be matched by ReNU and NUHOPE and will provide students with tools, seeds, a rain barrel and several other necessary items.

The proposal for the garden states that it will serve as a microscopic service-learning lab. This will allow for students to educate each other and area residents on healthy eating, self-sustainability and methods of providing food for the greater community. The microscopic service-learning lab will consist of the vegetable garden as well as a greenhouse where the vegetables will be seeded, grown and harvested.

The project is meant to further bridge the gap between NU students and the surrounding communities. Accordingly, any excess produce will be provided to the local soup kitchens and food pantries.

We are so proud of our students for putting together an outstanding proposal and thankful to the university community for coming together, stated Leehe Shmueli, project coordinator with ReNU, in a press release.

The progress of the community garden project will be documented at www.growWNY.org.

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