About the Public Health Garden
The Public Health Garden at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), is a student teaching and community garden demonstrating sustainable agriculture and environmental best practices in support of public, environmental and community health. Our mission is to:
- Exemplify the values of environmental stewardship, agricultural sustainability, physical activity, balanced diets, and environmental health
- Serve as a living classroom where faculty, staff, and students can engage in experiential education on issues directly related to agriculture and community, public, and environmental health
- Become a central meeting point and community building tool for the School of Public Health and the UMD community
I love this project. The Public Health Garden is a wonderful example of what can happen when a community comes together in support of a shared goal. We are so thankful for all of the support we continue to recieve from the broad UMD community to get our first garden season started.
My interest in the Public Health Garden stems from my passion for food, agriculture, community health and the environment. I am currently studying the intersection of these areas at the Maryland Institute of Applied Environmental Health where I am pursuing my Master of Public Health degree. I am also busy working with UMD Dining Services in support of their sustainability programs.
You can find me running around campus meeting with our many collaborators, emailing and on the phone reaching out to supporters and volunteers, and (of course) playing with the weeds, plants, and vegetables growing in the garden. I enjoy cooking and will continue to share recipes from the garden on my blog and tastes of what I'm cooking during our club meetings and events.
Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology: College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
An environmentalist at heart, I am a novice gardener who loves to share my enthusiasm for the planet through local foods and environmental education. I think that anything is possible if we all work together and I am proud to be part of the ever-growing collaborative web that is the success of the Public Health Garden.
My passion for community teaching gardens began at Florida International University in Miami. The Organic Garden at FIU is where I planted my first seed and finally learned that local foods really can start in your backyard. Their successful integration of academic and recreational gardening inspired me to apply for a grant from the Office of Sustainability Green Fund so that members of the UMD community can have the same experience I had.
These days you can find me planning projects and events. Some for the Public Health Garden and some for separate endeavors to enrich gardens and ecosystems elsewhere, like Peru. I'm always only an e-mail away and encourage thoughts, ideas, and questions from anyone. :-)
Every patch of land I cultivate and every topic I write about (on this blog and my own) is a learning experience that I trust will help me reach my academic goals in the classroom and my growing goals in rural, suburban and urban landscapes. I think an appreciation for nature and an understanding of the effects - positive and negative - that agriculture can have on our soil and water is the greatest gift you can give the next generation. I am proud to be in the business of conservation and cultivation and so deeply invested in the Public Health Garden.
Academically, I have the honor of being the first Sustainable Agriculture student at UMD's Institute of Applied Agriculture yet am committed to obtaining a deep understanding of conventional farming practices as well as promoting sustainable ones. Perhaps the most important lessons I have learned along the way are that farmers hold a lot less power than consumers and that we should each ask questions, learn daily, eat consciously and conscientiously, and vote with our forks.