FRIDAY, APRIL 03
OKLAHOMA CITY — While much of the national focus is on producing clean energy for environmental improvement, students at Oklahoma City University are ready to take a step that has several other side benefits to go along with sustainability, a community garden.
On the northern edge of campus between the OCU baseball field and a neighborhood sits what will soon be a unique bridge between the university and its surrounding community.
Plans are underway for an April 17 planting party called “Dig It!” from 4-5:30 p.m., when the campus and surrounding community are invited to lend a hand with the green thumb duties. Organizers are lining up live music and food for the extravaganza.
The community garden at N.W. 27th Street and Indiana Avenue is the brainchild of religion junior Clayton Miller.
“I wanted to come up with something that would get the students here interested in the neighborhood around campus,” Miller said. “This is another element to making the campus more eco-friendly while also establishing good relations with our neighbors.”
The gardens consist of two, 4-foot by 10-foot wooden frames that are approximately 2 feet tall. The box frames sit on top of the ground, giving the gardens a longer growing season, as Miller pointed out, because the soil can warm up quicker during the early spring. He plans to add more boxes as the project gains momentum.
It didn’t take long to recruit some help in his endeavor. The Student Government Association offered startup funds. The OCU facilities maintenance crew built the boxes and set them in place. And Brett Wheat-Simms, general manager of on-campus food services, helped Miller with the logistics of finding a suitable location and putting together a polished proposal.
“I thought it was a neat idea. Not only is it productive in helping the environment and with neighborhood relations, gardening is also a great hobby for students,” Wheat-Simms said.
He found another way to help the effort — vegetable scraps from his cafeteria will be used as compost material for the homemade composting contraption Miller built for the garden.
They plan to initially plant the gardens with green onions, potatoes, lettuce, carrots and a few other vegetables. Miller said those who participate will reap what they sow.
“Show up and garden with us. The more people we have the more we can grow. The more we can grow the more we can give,” he said.