Home Grown

A new generation is discovering how to make the leap from seed to table as volunteers and interns at Rider's community gardens.
Lauren Adams

Taking the concept of a green campus literally, a new generation is discovering how to make the leap from seed to table as organizers and interns for
Rider's Green Acres community gardens in Lawrenceville and Princeton.

Located between the Joseph P. Vona Academic Annex and Van Cleve House, and the Westminster Choir College Green Acres Community Garden, located behind Ithaca Hall.

The gardens include a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and herbs grown from seeds or plantings.  On a recent Thursday, students, faculty, staff on both campuses selected from a variety of herbs that included rosemary, thyme and basil, as well as fresh produce, including cucumbers, tomatoes and okra.

In addition to offering a free service to the Rider community, the organic gardens also provide an internship opportunity for students to learn how to manage and cultivate an organic garden. In addition, according to Dr. Laura Hyatt, associate dean for sciences, the garden is a great opportunity for students to learn about sustainability, healthy eating, growing their own food, and actively engaging other students, faculty and staff outside the classroom.

Organizers broke ground on Rider’s two organic gardens in late spring under the management of a host of dedicated student volunteers. Jess Canose ’13, summer garden manager on the Lawrenceville campus, is also earning academic credit through an internship offered by the Sustainability Studies program and sponsored by Ortho-McNeil Janssen. On the Westminster campus, Jake Ezzo ’13 helped plan, organize and plant the garden, and Marissa Chalker, a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Voice Pedagogy and Performance program and Tylzia Moore ’13 are the Westminster co-managers. All have spent considerable time planting, cultivating and sharing their passion for organic gardening, while helping create a sustainable Rider.

Every Thursday, beginning around 11 a.m., handpicked vegetables and herbs are available for free to the Rider and Westminster communities.

People who partake of the produce are asked to dedicate one hour per season to gardening or hosting the giveaway. Other opportunities for contributing include blogging at the University’s website dedicated to raising awareness about and involvement in Rider’s sustainability activities -- -- attracting additional people to the garden once the fall semester begins, or organizing other projects related to Rider’s green campus efforts.

Garden sponsors and supporters include the Energy and Sustainability Steering Committee, Student Affairs, Facilities Management and Ortho-McNeil Janssen.