UMF Garden inspires community and beyond

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The UMF Community Garden, a dream that has inspired faculty and students for years, is now a reality and inspiring people across the country and beyond. The story of its creation and the success of its first season feeding the community can be viewed on GMA.com (Good Morning America).

Good Morning America video screen shot of community garden video
UMF faculty members, Gretchen Legler and Misty Beck energized the creation of the garden through their English and Honors courses so students could experience what it takes to create small-scale, sustainable organic gardens while raising awareness of food insecurity and benefiting the community food pantries.

Given the challenges of COVID-19, students studied remotely and participated in online class time, designed the campus garden, and created an at-home community garden project. The garden features student-designed raised beds growing a variety of vegetables and herbs. Hexagonal, U-shaped, mini and elevated beds were designed to improve productivity and accessibility of the approximate 2,700 square foot space.

Community values are embedded throughout the program. More than 100 pounds of food harvested from the Farmington campus garden has been donated to campus and off-campus food banks this fall. The garden’s promise continues to grow with plans for new courses, science experiments, community-engaged learning projects, and new planting in the spring.


On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, we’re kicking off a campaign to grow our garden into a 4-season operation with a greenhouse and larger outreach to our community. If you’re excited about the great work our students and professors are doing to solve food insecurity and build a sustainable resource for our community, feel free to give them a head start by making a gift today.

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