This summer, the Lobo Gardens class planted a seed for what grew into a full semester-long course focusing on community gardens and sustainability issues.
Tema Milstein, the summer class’ professor, said the class is looking forward to bigger gardening projects this fall.
“The class this summer was just fantastic,” she said. “We were able to transform two sort of forgotten, blighted areas of UNM into bountiful gardens.”
This summer, the class worked hard to plant two community gardens that are now flourishing in the UNM Real Estate Department’s backyard and Hokona Hall’s courtyard. This fall, the class, called “Social Movements,” will continue to meet Tuesdays and Thursdays. So far, the class has 22 students enrolled, including many of the students who worked on the gardens this summer.
Andrew Marcum, the professor teaching the class this semester, said the gardens will expand to other parts of campus, and the class is using other social movements as a model for their actions.
“We are going to look at several other social movements such as the women’s rights movement and the civil rights movement and see how people can really change things and get things done,” he said. “The students in the class are not just studying social movements, but they are actually part of a social movement with this garden.”
Milstein said that the students took soil samples, surveyed the land, designed each garden, added compost and roto-tilled the soil before actually planting the gardens this summer.
The garden located at the UNM Real Estate Department, Milstein said, is terraced and is roughly 75 feet by 6 feet. East Central Ministries donated 12 different types of vegetables, including tomatoes, artichokes and eggplants, which are planted in the garden, Milstein said.
The Hokona courtyard garden is reserved for herbs, all of which were donated by Plants of the Southwest, with the thought in mind that UNM students will cook with fresh herbs, Milstein said.
Looking to build on that, Marcum said his class will focus on community outreach and address hunger issues in New Mexico.
With the future in mind, Milstein and Marcum said they plan to plant another garden by the SUB and host a University-wide Lobo Gardens open house and fall harvest. They also want to start a fresh fruit and vegetable cart to make food grown in the gardens available to students on campus and partner with a student run co-op.
Co-op organizer and student Jake Wellman said the co-op plans to partner with Lobo Gardens, and he hopes they’ll open by the spring semester.
“The co-op has kind of been on pause over the summer, but now that the fall semester is starting up we are definitely looking forward to starting work on it again,” Wellman said.