As the spring semester and the opening of the new Hagfor’s Center for Science, Business, and Religion come closer and closer, the Augsburg community says goodbye to the layout of the community garden we have known and loved since 2007. With the design of the new building, a new campus Master Plan, and a growing need for gardening space to expand across campus, Augsburg has decided to update the design of this space so that it is a permanent fixture of the campus and visible commitment to our continual experiment with what it means to have public space on our campus. After working with designers from Oslund and Associates, gardeners, and campus stakeholders to lay out a design based on shared goals and principles, the new garden will have a more modern look while still making space for the creativity of gardeners.
The biggest notable feature of the garden, will be that our new space will have 63 plots instead of the current 70. With newly planned accessible pathways and irrigation systems replacing the dirt trails that have gotten smaller and smaller over the years, some garden space needed be taken for better organization. The new plots will be easily distinguishable and farther separated from each other with pathways in between. Benches will now serve as both storage and gathering spaces for gardeners, Augsburg folks taking lunch breaks or doing homework, and neighbors looking for greenspace.
Although not everyone is happy about the newly designed look, others are excited to have more structure in the garden. Some folks would like to keep it as the natural, organic (in many ways), creative space it has been since gardeners began taking ownership and making it their own. Some of the sustainability-minded folks are disappointed that we have to say goodbye to reused objects, such as the bricks, poles, barrels, boards and random structures (e.g. crutches) that are both functional and artistic parts of many gardens. Although many things are leaving, many things will stay too – the tools, some of those found objects, plants, and seeds are staying and will be reused with the addition of new ones as well. Many other things from the old garden found new homes in neighbors’ gardens and yards, including our shed, which was graciously (and carefully!) transported to a brand new Cedar-Riverside garden at Timber Park (photo below) that the West Bank Community Development Corporation has been organizing with residents.
The new garden is expected to open in spring 2018 and construction began last week. If you are unable to get a plot, fear not. The new plots are designed to be replicated across campus. Spaces where there is open green grass may soon be turned into more garden plots! Because the new space will have both raised beds and in-ground garden plots, gardeners are looking forward to partnering with A Backyard Farm this spring to learn new growing techniques and make the most of the growing space. You can support this effort on Give To The Max Day on Nov. 16!
-By Joshua Marose (’21), ESC Intern