Allegheny College’s Carr Hall Garden became a stop on the Walk Grow Meadville tour on Saturday, Sept. 23.
The tour, which showcased 13 gardens, began at Meadville’s Creating Landscapes for Families Garden with an opening ceremony at 2 p.m. Then, participants traveled throughout Meadville, stopping at various gardens. The tour visited the Carr Hall Garden at 5 p.m. and left at 5:30 p.m. to stop by the Meadville Medical Center City Garden. The last garden on the tour was the Meadville Area Recreation Complex Community Garden.
Community member Brenda Boyd attended Walk Grow Meadville and said she was impressed by the event.
“I think it’s just fantastic,” Boyd said. “I think it’s wonderful.”
Boyd, herself a gardener, said a personal highlight of the tour was the way in which the Carr Hall Garden used planter bins for growing vegetables.
“[I like] the bins that they have the vegetables and stuff in,” Boyd said.
Bryna Bowden, community outreach coordinator with Women’s Services, was involved with Walk Grow Meadville. She said the garden tour was intended to facilitate community outreach around the issue of community gardens.
“It was a way to try to get more community awareness of gardens,” Bowden said.
While Bowden said she did not know the exact justification for the order in which the tour visited the various gardens, she knew that Walk Grow Meadville stopped at all of the gardens the organizers knew about.
“We included all gardens that were in Meadville,” Bowden said. “That includes community, educational and city gardens.”
Kerstin Martin, garden manager for the Carr Hall Garden and director of the Community Wellness Initiative, was one of the organizers of Walk Grow Meadville. She said when the tour stopped at the Carr Hall Garden, it highlighted the garden’s new greenhouse.
“[The greenhouse] is a way to mesh both research and renewable energy with our farming program,” Martin said.
Martin said students worked with Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Ian Carbone to build the greenhouse and install solar panels for it. She anticipated that the greenhouse would let students grow crops later in the year than they otherwise would be able to.
“Because it’s slightly heated, we can grow longer into the season and throughout the winter, if we want to,” Martin said.
Martin said the Carr Hall Garden was most often used by classes. The produce raised in the garden is sold to Parkhurst Dining Services for use in Allegheny dining halls, or for Meadville’s Mobile Market, which sells produce in the community.
“Right now, I’m teaching a class called Small Scale Production Agriculture,” Martin said. “There’s students who are learning all aspects of growing food from making a crop plan, to thinking about markets, thinking about pests and diseases. I also hire work-study students to work in the garden when the class isn’t happening, especially in the summer, so I had three students working in the garden this summer.”
Martin said the Carr Hall Garden started with an environmental science junior seminar in 2012, which developed the idea of the garden. The garden was fully created during the spring of 2013.