Baylor community garden plants memories with Garden to Table Dinner Celebration

Inside of the Baylor Community Garden, plants grow plentifully, such as the colorful Swiss Chard. Camie Jobe | Photographer

By Piper Rutherford | Staff Writer

With its first Garden to Table Dinner Celebration during Earth Week, the Baylor community garden looks to celebrate the work of its new environmental humanities minor, a partnership with the Sustainable Community and Regenerative Agriculture Collective and the efforts of various student groups to make the garden and Earth a more beautiful place.

Granbury senior and community garden co-manager Morgan Garner said her team is excited to welcome all faculty, staff and students from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on April 25 at the garden, which is located on the corner of James Avenue and Ninth Street.

“Our goal with this event is to promote the success that the garden has had over the past year, thanks to the more than 600 students, faculty and staff who have contributed over the past few months,” Garner said. “For attendees, we plan on having great food from local partners, such as the World Hunger Relief Institute, Mission Waco’s Urban REAP, locally grown tea, Barnard Beef’s locally raised meat and cheese, poultry from Chapultepec Farms and desserts from Waco’s very own Baked Bliss.”

In addition to celebrating record-breaking student participation, Dr. Joshua King, director of Baylor’s new environmental humanities minor, said the event will kick off with an official announcement that student government will be funding new projects for the garden.

“They have agreed to build a new greenhouse for storage and growing seedlings, as well as a new canopy for the pergola and benches throughout the space,” King said. “They are also going to be gifting the garden a CO2 mural, which includes a special paint that absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, and we will open up the contest for student artists who are interested in painting one of the four sections of the mural to submit their design ideas.”

Garner shared some of the garden’s new initiatives that will be recognized on the night.

“There has been more non-garden-affiliated student participation this year because of the classes at the garden we have been able to provide with the help of the World Hunger Relief [Institute’s] workshops and events,” Garner said. “These include a multitude of departments across campus, from English, history and modern languages to environmental science and social work.”

Beyond campus, King said the big picture of the garden is that it seeks to serve low-income, food-insecure communities, like neighborhoods right here in Waco.

“The bottom line is that we have a lot of waste in our community that is going into the landfill, creating methane emission, contributing to climate and disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable households,” King said. “That is why our programs, like Partners for Places, are so crucial to what we do, since they help us address environmental challenges for frontline communities like ours.”

On a more personal note, Garner said her time with the garden has taught her how to live responsibly and help out the Earth.

“Personally, the garden has been a therapeutic place for me, where I have met people on the same path as me who want to grow into a better human being while also making the Earth a better place to live in,” Garner said. “That is what this event is about: getting other students engaged with what we are doing at the garden so that they too can learn how to start a garden or live more sustainably in all areas of their lives.”