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Carolina Campus Community Garden 2015 Employee Forum Annual Report

Members (Employee Forum delegates): Arlene Medder, Lois Douglas-Alston, Bonita Brown and Tara Smith

Number of meetings in the past year: Nine

Report written by: Arlene Medder (Reviewed by: Claire Lorch)

Committee Assignment: Liaison with Carolina Campus Community Garden Advisory Board, maintain lines of communication between Employee Forum and Board

Overview of Activity: The garden expanded in size, permitting more plant beds and larger harvests. Tables with information, opportunities to sign up for the news emails, and food samples were at several campus events, such as Employee Appreciation, Fall Fest, etc. A new survey to gauge staff and faculty awareness and interest in the garden was composed, sent out and is returning for analysis. The garden hosted social events, team building, class exercises, as well as tours and workshops. Presentations about the garden were made to staff and faculty.

Garden expansion: The garden expanded its footprint by 35%. New deer fencing and split rail fences were put in place to demark the garden borders and protect the crops from assorted animals including deer and groundhogs. Permission for the fences was obtained from University Grounds and Chapel Hill Historic District Commission. Muscadine grape vines, blueberries, and Nanking cherries were added to the variety of plants in the garden.

In addition, other new structures were approved in the garden. A new toolshed to hold wheelbarrows, etc was purchased and built in the garden. New compost bins were built. Funding for a solar greenhouse is in place and plans are currently being tweaked by a design-builder.

The beehives in the garden began producing enough honey to include small amounts in the distribution. Additional staff have been added to the distributions. Volunteers can now attend workdays on Tuesday afternoons in addition to Wednesdays and Sundays.

Community Involvement: Claire Lorch, the Garden administrator and CCCG advisory board members, staffed tables at Employee Appreciation, Spring Splash, ,and others. One of the student advisory board members and volunteer, John Powers, also hosted a display at UNC’s Fall Fest for incoming students.

Several workshops have been held in the garden including, growing shiitake mushrooms, getting ready for spring, composting, and a tour of the garden beehives. An Environmental Science class planted Liberty Beds as part of the WWI remembrance events.

Groups from around campus and from the community had team building events in the garden. The groups include staff from the Office of Student Wellness, Law School volunteer day, executives from Marathon Petroleum, and UNC Food Research Program.

Outreach: Claire Lorch, Alice Zimmerman, and a student presented at the June 2014 Employee Forum retreat and in March at the Faculty Council. While some employees and faculty were aware of the Garden, through Employee Forum communication or as using the garden as an extension of the classroom, these presentations introduced additional people to the existence and purpose of the Garden. A presentation was planned for the Board of Trustees but was postponed.

A Weed Dating event was held for undergraduate students. At the event, students worked in the garden and were moved from task to task for opportunities to meet and talk to other students.

A survey regarding the garden was sent, via the Employee Forum list serves, to staff around campus. Close to 1000 staff and 230 faculty responded. Many of them had been previously unaware of the garden. The number of staff volunteering in the garden climbed as a result of the increased awareness.

Arlene Medder wrote several articles during the year for the InTouch regarding the garden. While not in every edition of the InTouch, the continuing flow of information helped maintain awareness of the garden and its activities.

Earth Day saw coverage in the University Gazette and the Daily Tar Heel. Members of the Employee Forum also volunteered that day.

Conclusion: It has been a very active year for the Carolina Campus Community Garden. Some activities, like class participation continues at the same rate; the area expansion and addition of the toolshed and new compost bins have made visible differences.

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