In celebration of the 45th anniversary of Earth Week….
In 1973, the first gardening efforts occurred on the UWGB campus. Barbara Rosenbaum, a student from Missouri, contacted the Office of Student Life wondering if there was a section of campus land that could be made available for a garden. Other students, faculty, and staff soon joined the efforts. Dick Christie, director of student life, made sure the gardening group received funding. Although the allocation was only $100, the group accomplished a great deal the first year.
The garden consisted of a half-acre lot and was divided into a communal section and individual areas. The small organic campus garden grew cabbage, beans, corn, radishes, lettuce, and other vegetables.
One of the organizers was Schellie Hensely, a senior from Illinois. He indicated the limited gardening funds were extended by using the leaf mold from a campus recycling project. Hensley stated the campus gardeners learned from organic gardening publications and members of the group who “grew up on a farm” as well as intuition.
The 1973 garden quickly became bigger in purpose with the campus fruit trees benefitting from the garden mulching and pruning; planned renovation of the greenhouse; and the creation of a library on organic gardening.
Fast forward to 2010 when the current SLO Food Alliance was established and a new campus garden began on the plaza of the University Union. As part of UWGB’s Earth Week celebration, this year’s garden will be planted on Thursday and Friday.
Pictured in the 1973 photo are Schellie Hensley (right) and Marcia Karras (left).