IN THESE DAYS of face coverings and social distancing, many Spartans have turned to gardening as a way to find solace during difficult times and to reconnect with nature.
One site of Spartan gardening has been there all along – UNCG Gardens. Celebrating their 10th year, the fully organic gardens are a community effort among faculty, staff, and students in which participants learn all about site preparation, planting, maintenance, and harvesting.
The gardens are also a source of donations to UNCG’s Spartan Open Pantry (SOP). “Students appreciate the opportunity to have fresh vegetables and leafy greens to round out what nonperishable food we normally have available,” says SOP director Andrew Mails. “Knowing that someone is growing those vegetables specifically for them helps reinforce that there is a Spartan community that cares about them. Each act of caring, be it growing vegetables in the UNCG Gardens or baking goods for weekly dinners, creates a network of support that many students need during this challenging time.”
Anthropology professor Susan Andreatta and student volunteers have managed the day-today of the gardens during the pandemic, and the result of their hard work shows. Dr. Corey Johnson (Geography, Environment, and Sustainability), Jarrod Pratt (Facilities Operations), and Guy Sanders (Housing & Residence Life) also work on upkeep of the site.
Meals have not been a sure thing for a lot of students during this pandemic. Hardships such as job loss and family crises have exponentially increased student need. Founded, funded, and operated by Wesley-Luther campus ministry, Spartan Open Pantry (SOP) has been serving hungry UNCG students since 2009. With nearly one in three students reporting food insecurity over the last year, SOP provides a lifeline. Want to help? The Spartan Food Insecurity Fund works in conjunction with Spartan Open Pantry to provide access to snacks, light meals, and non-perishable pantry staples for students who need them. Some new SOP To-Go campus locations have opened this fall. Donations are accepted at giveto.uncg.edu.
For more information visit Spartan Open Pantry