Wesley-Luther has a constant drive to fight hunger in our immediate area. As Greensboro has grown to #1 most food insecure city in the nation in the spring of 2015, we have been constantly finding new ways to provide food for those in need. Greensboro is already facing the most severe hunger issues in the nation and having thousands of new people move here every year to attend college puts extra stress on the food assistance organizations feeding the rest of Greensboro. Our original goal in creating our first food assistance program, The Spartan Open Pantry(SOP), was to provide an outlet for Spartans to help feed Spartans. We believe that UNC Greensboro is capable and motivated enough to make sure that none of our fellow Spartans should have to go hungry.
After realizing how large the need truly was on our own campus, we found that many Spartans using the SOP were receiving their entire diet from the pantry. While canned food helps to alleviate hunger it does not provide the nutritional value for a full diet. Fresh food is expensive to buy and is difficult to get donated. The best way to get fresh and healthy food to our neighbors is to grow it. We started the idea and planning process January 2014. We secured our first garden site, Minerva’s Garden, on campus August 2014. Minerva’s Garden is behind the Associated Campus Ministries (ACM) building, where our offices are located. The goals for this garden are; to provide fresh and health food to Spartans and to show an example of how to grow a lot of food in a less than ideal urban gardening spot. Minerva’s Garden does not get a full day of sun because it is tucked between two buildings. That does mean some extra planning on our part to make sure we get seeds for plants that can grow in these conditions. Minerva’s Garden began producing Spring 2015.
We partner with Centenary UMC for our second garden site. Centenary has beautifully made raised beds with a fence beside their church. We began planting at Centenary in May 2015. Both of our gardens produced through the summer and start of the fall. We also planted two apple trees at the Centenary garden that should start producing in 2 years.
We are working on a third garden site for next year. Keep in touch with us on Facebook for the news once we secure the third spot!
We Need You! How to Get Involved:
Both of the gardens will have regular weekend workdays and opportunities to sign up individually during the week for basic watering and tending. Please check out our volunteering schedule under the Hunger/SOP tab to sign up.
Become a Garden Intern! We need an intern for each of our garden sites to recruit volunteers, help with the planning process, and help with regular tending. If gardening is something you are interested in, this is the internship for you because we will pay for you to complete the Master Gardener Certification at the Guilford Country Extension Office OR attend a gardening/hunger conference. If you are interested in applying for the garden internship please check out the packet of information in the link below including the application.
Please contact Andrew Mails ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) to apply for this internship.
The ACM has been kind enough to donate a free space for us to store and distribute food. The SOP is only open on Tuesday’s and this gives us an opportunity to distribute food on a daily basis (as long as the garden is producing). Our goal is to produce more food than the SOP needs so that other students, faculty, and staff can also take some of the food grown right on our campus home with them. We will have a donation box located in Minerva’s Market for those who are able to donate a dollar or two for the vegetable that they take. This will allow us to continue to buy seeds and materials for the garden to keep growing.
Minerva’s Market is not open at this time. We will make sure to get the word out once we have fruits and vegetable available for you and what kinds they are. Make sure to follow The Spartan Open Pantry on Facebook to get quicker updates on when it opens. You can also sign up to be on our Garden Update Email List by following this link.