Urban Farm Collective closer to finding new home in Loring Park

Senate President Charles Karter presents the plan for transplanting the garden to Friends of Loring Park. Photo credit: Janiese Dixon

Student Senate President Charles Karter met with the Friends of Loring Park board committee on Wednesday, Sept. 13 to discuss the transplant of the MCTC garden into Loring Park. The meeting took place in the Loring Community Arts Center.

The fate of the MCTC Urban Farm Collective’s garden has been a topic of discussion since spring semester of this year, when it was announced that the garden would not be active until further notice.

The Wells Building, which was the original site of the garden, is hazardous; it is in a state of disrepair that requires anyone that enters the building or the property to wear a hard hat. It consumes one percent of the school’s annual budget in property taxes alone.

The total repairs of the building exceed the worth of it, and the most profitable move is to sell the building with the property, which means the garden could no longer exist in that space.

The Urban Farm Collective wishes to continue their project of having a community garden, and Loring Park is the ideal place for this, namely in the largely unused horseshoe pits. It’s close to the school, and as student senate president Charles Karter points out, “The bridge hasn’t been built to bring our two communities together.”

With a team of six people that initially designed the garden, the Urban Farm Collective was able to harvest over 1,000 pounds of produce on their annual budget. Over 500 students on campus had access to that produce, as well.

“We didn’t want to let this die,” said Karter to the Friends of Loring Park board members. “There’s too much of a good return on investments, and its a good educational resource for people.”

They spent time last year teaching students how to compost and how to begin gardening for themselves, even if they weren’t a part of the club. It’s a service they plan to extend to the greater community, as well as having the garden “open to the public for grazing,” Karter explained. “A lot of the food will go to the students, because there’s a need for it there.”

This multi-step process only begins with Friends of Loring Park. The Urban Farm Collective has been in contact with Citizens for a Loring Park Community concerning constructing the language for other communities that are seeking gardens in their parks as well.

Karter’s proposal was accepted by the Friends of Loring Park, and the next steps include presenting the proposal up the ladder, but the fate of the garden looks to be towards greener pastures.

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