Jul 20, 2020 | Atlanta, GA
On the Instructional Center lawn, sidled up against the building, sits Georgia Tech’s Community Garden. Maintained by the group Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS), the garden has been a fixture on Tech’s campus for years. This summer, SOS is still cultivating it, even with summer classes being conducted online and most employees working remotely. What’s more, the garden, along with the one on the roof of The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design, donates some of its bounty to Georgia Tech’s Klemis Kitchen, a food pantry for students with limited access to proper nourishment.
“The community garden has supplied produce to the kitchen in the past on a case-by-case basis, but this summer we are establishing a new and more solidified partnership,” said Camille Butkus, a rising third-year environmental engineering major and garden director of SOS. “Since early June we have begun twice-weekly donations in tandem with the Kendeda rooftop garden and plan to continue this as classes resume.”
The Community Garden donates anything from tomatoes and swiss chard to cilantro and basil to Klemis Kitchen. The Kendeda Building, meanwhile, has made several deliveries of blueberries.
“At Kendeda, we are looking to build partnerships with groups that advance ecological understanding. SOS is awesome, and my hope is that we can consolidate the work we started before the Covid-19 crisis,” Steve Place, horticulturist for The Kendeda Building, said.
During a typical fall or spring semester, SOS holds garden workdays every other weekend. Currently, volunteers are welcome to tend the garden on their own time. They will be asked to sanitize their hands before entering, wear a face covering, and stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone else who might be there. Typical gardeners include SOS members, graduate students, faculty, and even members of the local community not affiliated with Tech.
“I think the garden has been more important this summer than ever before,” said Miriam Campbell, a rising third-year environmental engineering major and vice president of projects within SOS. Campbell is also in charge of maintaining the garden for the summer. “It gives people a safe place to get fresh air, stay active, and stay connected.”