Campus Community Gardens at Shawneetown

 Cultivating Place for a Sustainable Community: revitalizing the Shawneetown Community Garden was one of the proposals funded under the 2014-2015 Sustainability Challenge Grant program. The project is led by Helen Turner (CoD) and Krista Jacobsen (CAFE) who are members of TFISE’s Built Environment and Food Systems Initiative working groups, respectively. This unique collaboration between Interior Design and Horticulture transforming the garden space to a garden place. 

A Little History

The original concept was developed by a Gaines Scholar student in 2009 and expanded from the initial 20 plots to 70 plots over time.  The garden has been highly utilized by the community of Graduate and Family housing residents and supported through the work and funding of student interns and organizations. 

The problem was that the garden had reached its capacity with the existing infrastructure and organization, yet there was more to be gleaned from it.  It would take the partnering of seemingly disparate disciplines to expand the Shawneetown Garden’s use beyond the growing season and give it an identity as “place”. 

An Opportunity

The team looked at this as a way to improve not only the aesthetics and efficacy of the garden, but also to provide unique project-based and service learning opportunities for their students.  Students developed the conceptual design, conducting surveys, soliciting stakeholder input, and presenting their design to reviewers. The resultant design yielded 86 plots, work hubs, community spaces, walking paths, and children playscapes.  Over the spring, they cleared debris and prepared the area for the gardeners and coordinated with the student group SEAD to assist residents with staking plots.  They will continue to work over the summer to construct and install the built elements to ready the “place” for the Garden to Table event this fall.  

TFISE Director Krista Jacobsen has committed renewed support for maintenance events on an as-needed basis. For more information check out this amazing place on Facebook.