Western Michigan University - 1940 Howard St., Kalamazoo (behind Stadium Drive apartment complex at Stadium/Howard Intersection)
Name: Amanda Jean Latchaw
The WMU Community Garden located behind Stadium Drive Apartments was started in 2010 by the registered student organization (RSO) Student Garden Organization. Tillers International, a local non-profit, helped develop the land using a team of oxen. They cultivated the earth and fenced in a space of 30’x120’ to create the WMU Community Garden. The following season, the Stadium Drive Apartment Manager helped with the garden, engaging apartment residents as well as other students. In 2012, the management of the garden transitioned to the Office for Sustainability where they continued developing the garden, implementing our rainwater collection system and holding weekly produce stands. During this time, the garden also expanded it borders to accommodate growing interest and becoming the current size at about a half acre. The Office for Sustainability passed stewardship of the garden to the RSOs known as Students for Sustainable Earth and BioClub in 2014.
The garden has since become its own entity, managed by a group of motivated students interested in sustainability and helping the local community. In 2016, we will launch our new initiative, The WeGrow to Give Community Project, where community gardeners, students, and other volunteers will designate a section of the garden to growing produce for members of Peace House on the East side of Kalamazoo. This project will bring students and community members together for a common mission to provide a learning environment for sustainable gardening while fostering personal growth for students. In turn, we hope to improve the Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo community for all.