Issue #15

Dear Sustainable Abigail,

I keep hearing rumors about a garden at Bates; what’s the deal with that? Do we have one now? Are we going to have one in the future?  Help! I am a huge gardener myself, and if there is an opportunity to get into that here I want to as soon as possible!

-Got a Green thumb and Gotta Garden

Dear Got a Green Thumb and Gotta Garden,

You have brought up this question at just the right time: we are starting a community garden right now! I repeat: BATES IS GOING TO HAVE A COMMUNITY GARDEN! This garden is particularly exciting because it will not only be a space in which community sharing, gathering, and learning can occur, but also because some of the food grown will go directly to commons. So, what’s the plan, process, and status right now you ask? Well, first, the Garden project needed to be funded, and with the help of a Green Grant, the Bates Office of Sustainability, and Bates Dining, the EcoRep Garden Coordinators were able to get the ball rolling. Next, the Ecoreps needed to find a space that would work land-wise, space-wise, etc. After surveying a couple different options, it was settled that the best spot for this garden would be behind Multi-Faith Chaplain Brittany Longsdorf’s House. Finally, there needed to be a plan to care for the space and make sure that it could really be successful. This plan transformed into the new Garden Club, which will collaborate with the Ecoreps to care for and cultivate the space. Additionally, there are going to be two interns hired every summer to care for the garden. As you mentioned you have a green thumb, you might really enjoy joining in the garden fun through either the garden club or as an intern, or both! But, for those of you who aren’t sure about gardening, but want to give it a shot there will also be plenty of opportunities throughout the year to work in the garden, including events (like EcoService Day), classes, and planting/weeding/harvesting sessions (garlic/pumpkins in the fall!). I am getting a little ahead of myself though; the plan for the rest of this (school) year is to begin planting, clearing the land, and preparing beds during short term, then growing for the first season this summer! Then, as a new Fall rolls around, the garden will be ready for harvesting and cultivating! Nonetheless, as this is a community garden, the community work starts now, (even before the land is ready), so if you are interested and have time this week, there is going to be a planting session in the greenhouse! To hear more about that or ask any questions, as well as to get on the Garden Club Listserv, you can email the Ecorep Garden coordinators: and Last, but not least, I wanted to share a poem that the EcoRep Garden Coordinators shared with me in response to your question, I think it is quite nice and says a lot of the info I’ve offered here but in a way more fun way! Enjoy!

“The new Bates Garden is a place for all

Students, faculty; the boundaries fall.

We hope this will act as a learning space

As well as a productive place!


Without Tom and Dining, this project would be a mess

They’ve provided support, time, and resources, in excess.

We need to extend our thanks to the student body too:

It is their support and excitement that has really pulled us through!


It will truly be a struggle to clear our plot of land

But the new Garden Club will be able to lend a hand.

As the snow fell, we dreamed of green and seeds

Thanks to our educational lecture series, we won’t just grow weeds!


Looking ahead; 2 summer interns will be helping our first plants grow

So that next year more students can be in the garden before the snow;

And “garden-engaged” courses will never again be rare!

Most importantly, though, we’re getting a pergola for Tom, and bees for Adair.”

Thanks for writing!

-Sustainable Abigail