The Students For Organic United Living (SOUL) Garden, located on Centennial Campus, now in its second year, will focus on getting more students involved during the fall semester, according to managers.
Expansion for the garden, which is still highly dependent on volunteer work and donated soil, started with increasing its personnel. New to the team is co-manager Ariel Greenwood, a senior in psychology, who joined over the summer.
"We're very optimistic to make the garden more communal and increase participation," Greenwood said. "There will be more incentive to stay involved if students have plots out there."
Greenwood said she also hopes to get the attention of more students not necessarily involved in agriculture and make sure they stay involved -- an endeavor that will probably require more management and supervision.
"The main objective is to have more volunteer opportunities structured in a way that they have a meaningful impact," Greenwood said. "And if [plot] renters can grow more of what they want, they can tend their garden more effectively."
Bryan Maxwell, a senior in civil engineering and former chair of the Sustainability Commission, was one of first to help establish the garden in 2010. He also said the goal for this semester is to solidify the garden's operational foundation and educate students.
"We want to get more organized," Maxwell said. "We've been lacking structure a bit."
Maxwell wants to get more of the campus community involved with class trips to the garden.
Max Sherard , co-manager and senior in anthropology and bioarchaeology , said he wants to focus on a more methodical approach to educating students. Specifically, he said he would like to start with students in soil agroecology , a class for which he was a TA.
In addition to a big push for outreach to students and faculty, the garden underwent some important physical changes.
New to the garden is a storage container, which is more important than it sounds, according to Greenwood, when it comes to efficiently operating a garden. The much-needed box will store tools and supplies in a dry space and keep the garden significantly more organized, said Greenwood.
A composting system is also in the works, which will help restore nutrients to the soil in the long run, according to Greenwood.
One problem the team faced over the summer was thievery of certain crops, Maxwell said.
"People assumed it was a free community garden, but the point was to teach people to grow, harvest and earn their own food," Maxwell said. "Next year we probably won't grow strawberries, because everyone took those."
In an effort to curtail this problem, the team is working on building a fence and signage, though the managers said this is not a long-term solution.
Maxwell said the team is looking to expand the garden in terms of adding additional plots but must first get an OK from the University.
These limits on the garden were first realized during the garden's inception during negotiations with University architects over where the garden would be located.
The original creators of the garden wanted to have a location on main campus, but had to settle for a flood zone area next to Lake Raleigh, where major structures cannot be built.
Greenwood said she thinks the area is "unconventional," but it proved to work well in the end.
In the past year, the SOUL Garden team has partnered with the on-campus farmers market as well as another community garden located in the honor's village.
The garden won the Think Outside The Brick competition in 2010, which encourages students to submit ideas for sustainable projects on campus.