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July 23, 2012
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme: It’s what’s growing at Upstate Medical’s Community Garden

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— The Upstate Community Garden outside the west entrance of Upstate Medical University’s Campus Activities Building is once again showing signs of life.

Now in its third year, the Community Garden is tended by Upstate students, some of whom live next door in the Clark Tower residence hall. Fourth-year medical student Giancarlo Rondash, a former chef, has led the student involvement in the project from the beginning.

Students who help with the Community Garden are part of a collaborative effort led by Thomas Pelis, assistant vice president for facilities and planning. Pelis is chair of Upstate’s Sustainability Task Force, and a veteran gardener.

In exchange for their sweat equity during the growing season, students and some employees reap the benefits at harvest time. Any student interested in helping out should e-mail Giancarlo at

The 30-foot by 40-foot garden has raised beds surrounded by a fence. Its offerings include potatoes, beans, lettuce, beets, radishes, tomatoes, peas, peppers and kale.

Rondash said the garden offers a way for Upstate students to relax and better handle the stress of school as well as have a convenient supply of nutritious food. “For me this is relaxing, and it’s nice to come here and get your hands dirty,” he said.

Last year, an herb bed was added to the northeast corner of the garden. It’s easy to remember the herbs planted there this year — just add tarragon to the lyrics of a classic song by Simon & Garfunkel, and there you have it.

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