SOMERS – The University of Wisconsin-Parkside announced that its Campus Garden was able to produce enough fresh produce to donate over 1,000 pounds to the Racine County Food Bank from July – November this year; 1,019 pounds to be exact.
The hot summer days were especially good for the okra and pepper crops this year, and with the warmer weather, a second round of cabbage, leafy greens, radish and green bean crops helped push the donations over the 1,000-lb mark. This was a striking increase of an additional 350 pounds from 2020, and more than 700 pounds more than from the 2019 growing season.
“It has been very rewarding to be able to supplement food pantry, shelf-stable products with sustainable, locally sourced fresh vegetables from the UW-Parkside campus garden,” UW-Parkside Associate Lecturer Julie Kinzelman said. “With donations from the Racine County Food Bank and the 18th Street Pick-N-Save, we were able to label and package the produce to make it easier for clients who come on foot or use public transportation to get their produce home in good condition.”
The Parkside Environmental Club plays a large role in working the garden. Members prepare the plots for spring planting, build raised beds for the hoop house, apply fresh coats of paint to protect structures like the shed, planting flowers, and endless weeding. Kinzelman is hoping to expand the growing season next year into November and December by building and utilizing cold frames that will house colder-weather crops such as kale, spinach and lettuce.
The Campus Garden is located behind Tallent Hall, next to the Student Health and Counseling Center. Food Bank donations are only part of what the garden yields. UW-Parkside utilizes the vegetables in their kitchens as well as other recipients within the surrounding community. It has also been noted for its COVID-19 pandemic-friendly working conditions as the plots allow for gardeners to socially distance themselves while working.
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is committed to high-quality educational programs, creative and scholarly activities, and services responsive to its diverse student population, and its local, national, and global communities. This dynamic learning community is grounded in academic excellence and focused on student success, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement. The campus serves as a premier comprehensive public institution and a destination of choice, serving as a focal point of local, regional, and global progress.