North Central’s organic community garden has a new home on Chicago Avenue. The recent move from the Loomis Street location was necessary for construction of the new Science Center.
Faculty, staff, students and community members have been caretakers of the campus community garden since its start in 2010. They are eligible to maintain one or more of the 26 garden plots. Chartwells plots provide fresh produce for Kaufman.
Gardeners like Jerry Thalmann, associate professor of accounting, have been on site all summer watering, weeding and harvesting. “I grow 15 different varieties of tomatoes,” he says. “I also have a garden behind my house and plots at the Naperville Community Garden.” Thalmann begins his tomato plants from seed at his home during the winter month and caps off the growing season by canning tomato juice, chili sauce and 75 pints of salsa.
To relocate the garden, Student Governing Association (SGA) provided a grant for a four-foot high wooden fence, wire mesh fencing to deter rabbits, material for three raised beds and a new irrigation system that pumps water from the campus pond. The soil conditions are excellent, with a mixture of top soil and mushroom compost.
“SGA’s grant approval shows how the garden is a valued part of the campus,” says Brittany Graham, sustainability coordinator.