Community Garden Inside (large)It is an international movement in which institutions are working to build sustainable and vibrant communities. The time for dynamic local economies is right now, through the growing and purchasing of local food and development of sustainable environments.

The Mount is dedicated to preparing its students to become engaged environmental citizens–not just on campus, but also in their own communities throughout their lives. This is evident through the implementation of the Mount Community Garden, an initiative that started in 2009.

The Mount Community Garden is a sustainably managed community garden on the campus open to the students, faculty and staff of the Mount as well as all individuals and organizations in the surrounding community.

“The Mount Community Garden is a project that derived from an honors thesis of a Mount nutrition student,” says Kim Sheppard, Mount Community Garden Coordinator. “The garden is used by different departments within the university that build curriculum around it, along with individuals and community members. It’s a place of recreation and a place to learn about growing and using local food.”

Kim started as the Community Garden Coordinator in September of 2010, while doing prerequisites for the education program at the Mount, which she will start this fall. Her interests and background in the use of local food got her excited at the prospect of this project.

Kim Sheppard Inside Shot

Kim Sheppard, shown at right, believes “…the Mount is very special in the sense that it works hard to not only foster a sense of community within the university, but reaches out to create a sense of unity with the surrounding community.” 

In May, the Mount received a $10,000 grant from the Evergreen Foundation, a not for profit organization that’s mission is to bring communities and nature together for the benefit of both, in partnership with Wal-Mart. The grant will allow for the expansion of the community garden assist with the building materials, operations, soil and plant expenses.

“Evergreen supports projects that are equally supported by the institution,” says Kim. “We secured the grant because of the Mount’s dedication and commitment to expanding the garden for the betterment of the community and the province.”

Not only is the garden a place for the Mount and its community to grow food, but it serves as a way to give back to the community. A section of the garden is devoted to growing food to donate to the Mount Food Bank. In addition, Kim hopes to develop the garden into a location of research for the community.

“We have the capacity to research a variety of different areas including gardening methods, extending the growing season along with how community gardens benefits community members,” says Kim. “We’re not only growing food, but local living economies.”