A biology professor and student volunteers are keeping the community garden alive and well.
“As a gathering place for study, poetry, and music, or simply a solitary retreat in the hammock, the community garden is a creative space for growing food and cultivating minds,” wrote Assistant Professor of Biology Ryan Huish on his Web page. Started in 2005 as a senior student project (see Hollins, summer 2006), the garden lay fallow from 2007 until Huish arrived on campus in 2009 and he and student volunteers brought it back to life. In a recent video interview, Huish explained, “We wanted to have an opportunity for the students to get connected back to the earth, to see where their food comes from, and to be able to produce organic food. It’s a student-run club. We grow herbs, including thyme, basil, rosemary, lavender, and lemon balm, and we also grow a lot of vegetables—tomatoes, okra, peppers, Jerusalem artichokes, cucumbers, beans, peas, edamame, and Swiss chard. Over the last two years we’ve been selling the produce to the Hollins community. And recently [Sodexo, the company that manages the dining hall] has started purchasing food from our winter garden.”
To senior Shiloh Boehler, an environmental studies and biology major and president of the Hollins Community Garden Club, the garden provides a way to escape temporarily from a technologically oriented life and to ground herself in growing things.