Students learn to grow, care for sustainable indoor gardens

For typical college students, an opportunity to garden in dorm rooms or apartments may seem implausible. Garden in a Tight Spot, an event yesterday organized by TCU Wesley Foundation and Community Renewal at TCU, showed students that this was not necessarily true.

Garden in a Tight Spot provided students with resources to learn more about indoor gardening, junior ballet major and Community Renewal student intern Jenn Shinn said.

Shinn, who helped organize the event, said Garden in a Tight Spot brought together students who shared a passion for gardening and even those students who were attempting it for the first time.

Gardening would be a way to encourage students to work together and form community on campus, Shinn said.

“It’s basically a vessel to get people to do things together,” she said.

Sophomore psychology major Amy Fowler agreed with Shinn.

“It’s amazing, planting something and seeing it grow,” Fowler said. “It helps build the community.”

Community Garden Coordinator for the TCU Wesley Foundation Cameron Navarro helped organize Garden in a Tight Spot with Shinn.

Navarro said students would be able to gain a sense of accomplishment from gardening their own food.

“Growing your own food is kind of a new trend that people are really trying to get into as a way of connecting to their food,” Navarro said. “A lot of people don’t know where their food comes from, how intensive and rewarding it is when you grow your own tomato for the first time. It’s probably the most delicious tomato you’ll ever eat.”

Megan Davidson, director of the Wesley Foundation, said the event raised awareness on sustainability by showing students the importance of knowing where their food comes from.

Davidson said she believed events like this would encourage students to not waste food in the future.

Tanya Ratana, a senior sociology major who attended the event, said it was her first time gardening. Ratana, who is also enrolled in a sustainability class this semester, said she wanted to implement lessons she learned in her class to her life.

Davidson said students who attended the event had the opportunity to pick their own seeds and plant them in plastic gardening containers that they could take back to their rooms. They also received information about their plant and how to care for it in their dorm rooms or apartments.

Davidson said the responsibility of caring for a plant could be an empowering experience for a student, an experience she had the first time she grew something herself.

“I just felt like I had suddenly done something with my life because I grew green beans,” she said. “And you know people have been growing green beans for years and centuries and decades, but all of a sudden I felt alive in a new way. I am hopeful that this experience will happen with students, and that is the reason we wanted to have a garden on campus.”

Navarro said that in a college environment where students are overwhelmed with various activities and deadlines, nurturing a plant helped to create a space for relaxation.

“It’s always nice to do something mentally and spiritually to have a little space that’s your own and have responsibility for something that’s depending on you,” he said.

Daniel Terry, director of Student Development Services, said the event “fosters a connection and relatedness on campus that leads to a healthier campus community.”

Shinn said the weather contributed to the overall gardening atmosphere.

“It was such a beautiful day outside that so many people were out and about,” Shinn said. “It was like gardening was just in the air.”