Fresh tomatoes. Homegrown carrots. Organic spinach. If you are anything like me, the thought of cooking with these fresh veggies makes your mouth water. However, if you are anything like me, paying 40 dollars at the grocery store for vegetables is way too expensive. At Virginia Wesleyan, we have the manpower, resources and real estate to have the best of both of these worlds: a community garden!
This community garden could be anything from a small 5 x 5 garden for hardy tomatoes to a field of fresh produce ready to be harvested. Once built, the only thing it would require is us! With the power of a generous community, we can chip in together for seeds, watering supplies, fertilizer and more and reap the rewards all year-round. With said community garden, Virginia Wesleyan would become a more beautiful, sustainable campus for everyone.
“Gardening is good for the soul” is no simple platitude. If you do not believe me, maybe you can trust numerous studies that indicate the mental health benefits of gardening. It lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, improves attentiveness, and reduces the incidence of anxiety and depression. Even soil is said to have antidepressant properties because of the bacteria cultivated in it.
A garden is symbolic of our own growth and provides a sense of achievement and purpose to those who work on them from beautiful flowers to lush produce. Gardens keep us connected with ourselves and the natural world. In addition to its aesthetic and luxury benefits, the community garden could elevate Virginia Wesleyan as a service opportunity.
The United Nations identified “Zero Hunger” as its second goal in the facilitation of sustainable development. During the pandemic, food insecurity went up in our area by 17%. Food pantries were unable to keep up with the demand and had to purchase groceries from the already scarce inventory in stores. Marymount, a private liberal arts university comparable to Virginia Wesleyan takes action in their community by participating in the Plot Against Hunger.
I would like to see Virginia Wesleyan spearhead its own plot to eliminate hunger or even join in with a community effort to do so. It is our responsibility as environmental stewards and pillars of our community to utilize this opportunity to end hunger in Virginia Beach.
By Garrett Page