The JGHC community garden was founded in the late summer of 2021, and has since been utilized by USF students and faculty to build a stronger and more united community. The goal of the JGHC Community Garden is to create a welcoming, shared space where students connect both with themselves and each other, building a hearty community on campus. Food is at the junction of everything that this organization does, as it focuses on the production as well as the distribution of food.
President of the JGHC community garden, and honors student at the University of South Florida, Kobe Phillips testifies to the mission of the community garden below.
"Ultimately, what we are finding is that the community garden is providing a unique safe space for many community members that felt disconnected due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Beyond just great lessons, I think many of our students and participants are leaving with a better understanding of environmental altruism and stewardship that will hopefully transform our future!"
As of this summer, the garden has been active for one year and has grown many fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, kale, broccoli, rainbow chard and lettuce. As well as, an herb garden where plants like cilantro, dill, lemongrass, rosemary, and mint came to thrive. Recently, the organization has continued to expand by adding a plantain tree and a vertical garden to the bunch.
"The part of our program that I am most proud of is our donations of fresh produce grown in the garden to Feed-a-Bull pantry, a food pantry for students on the USF campus. If my experiences in the garden have taught me anything it would be the power of teamwork...I also learned that while something can be overwhelming to one person, when you break it down it becomes easier to manage and way less stressful. With little hard work and dedication as a team we were able to create something amazing for and in our community..."
Since it's establishment, the students and faculty involved with the community garden have fundraised over $3,000 through the USF Foundation Giving Week, taught over 45+ students lessons through Rooted-in-Place, an honors course that teaches food and sustainability, aided in both fall and spring festivals at the USF Botanical Garden, and successfully hosted the first ever JGHC Community Garden Farmers Market! With all these amazing accomplishments in their first year, we are so excited to see how our the organization continues to develop!