The new Mississippi State University Community Garden, which has been in the making for about three years, opened on Oct. 15.

This garden is a way for students, faculty and the Starkville community to get involved in going green, and works to better the community overall.

Mayah Emerson, president of the Student Association, described the garden as being there “for the MSU community, as well as the Starkville community.”

The Community Garden is a large project across MSU and Starkville with many people involved.

“Partners all across campus have joined together in this project, so from student groups to departments, it’s become one big project for everyone,” Emerson said.

This, Emerson explained, is the part SA played in the project. They are one of the partners who have worked to officially get the garden to a running point. MSU President Mark Keenum specifically commended SA’s leadership and contributions to the “wonderful project.”

Emerson said the garden originally started all because of one student.

“A student thought we should become greener, so he advocated for more resources,” Emerson said. “He was awarded money and started a proposal process. Students were able to come up with initiative ideas, submit a proposal and then a winner was chosen...The first year this started, the Community Garden was chosen. The Student Association partly funded the garden, and then it took off from there.”

Since the proposal, the garden has included many partners, farm-bots and classwork. A few classes on campus now meet and do work to move the garden forward.

Another partner and promoter involved is the Maroon Volunteer Center, which Meggan Franks oversees.

“We help recruit volunteers and groups, and communicate to students about their volunteer commitment,” Franks said.

Franks explained they do things for the garden in terms of students volunteering, such as scheduling shifts and keeping up with how many volunteers are in the garden at once.

“Volunteers from all over helped to actually create the garden,” Emerson said.

The garden is located behind the Department of Landscape Architecture, just south of the Newell-Grissom Volleyball Arena.

“This will hopefully start more conversations to be greener on our campus, which we’re excited about,” Emerson said.

Because the culture of going green is increasing on campus, students are provided with more opportunities to further themselves and their knowledge in this subject.

Not only is this garden educating students on being environmentally friendly, but there are also many other motives for creating it. These include things like research and reducing hunger.

“Mississippi State is committed now and in the future to solving the problem of hunger wherever it exists,” Keenum said. “It is one of our central research priorities, and an area where we have unmatched expertise and capabilities.”

Due to these missions of ending hunger and going green, the newly opened Community Garden is important for progress in Mississippi.

“It illustrates how small steps can have profound impacts when we work together,” Keenum said. “It gives us an important platform to educate students, develop additional research on smaller-scale food production and share that knowledge with the local community and well beyond.”

After several years of preparation, the new Community Garden allows MSU to look toward a future of bettering the college’s environmental impact, as well as pushing for education and research in related fields.

For people who would like to sign up to volunteer at the community garden, they can go to OrgSync or email Eloisa DeLeon at emd203@msstate.edu.

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