By Catie Hoops
Chestnut Hill College’s garden has been quite successful this year. As members of the club are finding out, it grows not only produce, but character as well.
In 2014, the Griffin Garden Club was started by students interested in combining their knowledge of food production and enjoyment of community service into an enduring project that would serve CHC students and others for a long time to come. Keely McCarthy, Ph.D., associate professor of English, and Bob Meyer, Ph.D., professor of biology, dedicated land on the SugarLoaf campus to begin the garden. From there, members dug and leveled out the ground since the building process called for students to create its foundation from scratch. Since then, the garden has expanded and continues to do so.
Andrew Conboy ’18, president of the Garden Club, explains the garden’s progress. “This year, we opened the full garden. Last year, we only had just over half of the garden opened. With the additional space, we’re hoping to increase produce production a lot.”
Not only will the extra land help in growing more food, but the taller fences will be beneficial as well. “We put a taller fence around the outside to prevent groundhogs from getting in,” said Conboy, “as they did a lot of damage last year.”
From the past semester, the garden has yielded an array of produce such as potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, peas, squash, eggplant, strawberries, watermelon and a variety of herbs. Once the fruits and vegetables are fully grown, Garden Club members will donate the produce to food kitchens and homeless shelters near the college and in the greater Philadelphia area. The Garden Club aims to grow more produce to donate and to grow in size as well.
Even though some students have no experience gardening at all, Conboy says that doesn’t matter. “We encourage anyone and everyone at CHC to get involved.” The club provides students with the opportunities to learn about gardening and to enjoy the feeling of satisfaction in serving the community.
Reprinted, with permission, from the August issue of Connections, the CHC alumni magazine. Catie Hoops is a junior at CHC.