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UST Students Create Community Garden

As urban gardens continue to sprout up across the city, state and nation, St. Thomas is sowing the seeds of a new community garden project this fall.

“More and more urban areas are getting into gardening,” said Sister Damien Marie Savino, FSE, chair of the UST Environmental Science and Studies Department. “I think people in cities often miss that touch with nature. They are longing to be able to garden, experience natural cycles and grow their own food

within limited space.”

|The project was prompted by increasing interest from student clubs, classes, faculty, and staff on campus. Students in the Environmental Science Authentic Development and Sustainability class will design and construct the raised-bed garden in the vacant lot on Sul Ross Street, across from Guinan Hall, beside the Center for Faith and Culture Building. A blessing of the garden site will be held at 5:45 p.m. on Oct. 7.

“Our community gardeners will learn practical lessons on how to grow food and the discipline to maintain their crops,” Sr. Damien Marie said. “I’m hoping this will also be a spiritual experience. The process of something growing from seed to harvest is amazing. There are also many analogies to gardening in the Bible; Christ referred to the mystery of the seed and soil.”

Once the beds are built, UST community members who previously requested a plot will be expected to plant, water, weed and care for their beds. The cost of soil, lumber, a garden shed, tools, and other construction materials will be partially offset by a generous donation from UST alumnus Vince D’Amico, and discounts from Parker Lumber in Shiner, Texas, and Cowboy Trucking in Houston.

The group is still deciding how to best use their future harvest. Suggestions include giving some or all of the produce to local homeless shelters or setting up a farmers’ market on campus.

The students invite the campus community to help construct the raised beds on Tuesday Oct. 12. For more information, contact Sr. Damien Marie at