Groundbreaking for the Upstate Community Garden
The playground area on the west lawn of the Campus Activities Building will be transformed this year into a vegetable garden.
Groundbreaking for the Upstate Community Garden took place on Earth Day, April 22. Upstate President David R. Smith MD was joined at the ceremony by Syracuse Deputy Mayor John Cowin, several students and other members of the university community.
Afterward, volunteers led by veteran gardener Thomas Pelis, assistant vice president for facilities and planning, will begin tilling and planting. More planting will be done during Upstate's second annual Think Green Fair May 13.
The idea for a community garden on campus originated with the planning committee for the Think Green Fair. The garden will be highlighted during the fair, which will also feature local CSA (community supported agriculture) vendors.
"The vegetable garden will be a pleasing reminder of Upstate's commitment to Sustainability," said Deb Stehle, chair of the Sustainability Education and Awareness Committee. "It's truly an innovative use of space and will help foster a sense of community on campus."
The 30-foot by 40-foot garden will have raised beds surrounded by a fence, and will yield potatoes, beans, lettuce, herbs, carrots, tomatoes, peas, peppers, kale and flowers.
Upstate students who live in Clark Tower will tend the garden, and they will use some of the produce in nutrition education programs they conduct at Syracuse elementary schools.
The playground was used by children in Upstate's child-care center on Irving Avenue before the center moved to larger quarters in the Sarah Loguen Building on South Salina Street.
In 2009, Upstate president David R. Smith, MD signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), committing the university to become "carbon neutral" by 2050.
Upstate submitted its first Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory in 2010, and began work on a Climate Action Plan that was completed and submitted to the ACUPCC in May 2011.