Garden is model for area

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Three out of four households in the U.S. have some sort of garden, and with the growing popularity of sustainable practices and organic foods, a lot of people are starting to avoid anything that’s been genetically modified.

A community garden at Slippery Rock University could be a model for other projects in the area. Nine garden plots full of fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs make up the community gardens at the Macoskey Center for Sustainability. Growing a little more each day, the plots are tended by the students, faculty, and community members that own them.

“When this idea came for a garden, we were very keen because that’s what we do back home,” said community gardener Harrison Tawana. “For us it’s been driven by just wanting to live healthy, having a healthy lifestyle, and you’re taking in food that’s not been treated with any chemicals at all.”

Tawana is a native of Zimbabwe, living here temporarily while his wife gets her master’s degree from the university. While weeding his patch of lettuce and cabbage, Tawana describes the African country as very agricultural. He said everyone strives to consume food in as natural a state as possible.

At the Macoskey Center, they provide the compost for a totally organic gardening experience.

“People are concerned about what they’re eating, what they’re putting in their bodies,” said Director Fran Bires. “It’s very important in terms of the future of the planet, the health of the planet, and then with it as well, the health of yourself.”

The all-natural experience is enhanced by the chance to share best practices with one another.

“People will teach you things and it’s just an all-around good atmosphere out here,” said community gardener Tyler Pruitt.

The plots are $50 for the April to October growing season, with the chance to get $20 back if you follow the ‘green’ guidelines.

Applications are taken at the beginning of the year.

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