From Space to Place
A unique collaboration between Interior Design and Horticulture has just taken community gardening to the next level on the UK campus: transforming a garden space to a garden place. Cultivating Place for a Sustainable Community: revitalizing the Shawneetown Community Garden was one of the proposals funded under the 2014-2015 Sustainability Challenge Grant program. The project is led by Helen Turner (CoD) and Krista Jacobsen (CAFE) who are members of TFISE’s Built Environment and Food Systems Initiative working groups, respectively.
A Little History
The original concept was developed by a Gaines Scholar student in 2009 and expanded from the initial 20 plots to 70 plots over time. The garden has been highly utilized by the community of Graduate and Family housing residents and supported through the work and funding of student interns and organizations.
The problem was that the garden had reached its capacity with the existing infrastructure and organization, yet there was more to be gleaned from it. It would take the partnering of seemingly disparate disciplines to expand the Shawneetown Garden’s use beyond the growing season and give it an identity as “place”.
The team looked at this as a way to improve not only the aesthetics and efficacy of the garden, but also to provide unique project-based and service learning opportunities for their students. Students developed the conceptual design, conducting surveys, soliciting stakeholder input, and presenting their design to reviewers. The resultant design yielded 86 plots, work hubs, community spaces, walking paths, and children playscapes. Over the spring, they cleared debris and prepared the area for the gardeners and coordinated with the student group SEAD to assist residents with staking plots. They will continue to work over the summer to construct and install the built elements to ready the “place” for the Garden to Table event this fall. Follow their progress on facebook.
“…the goal of revitalizing the Shawneetown Gardens is to research, design and build a destination for residents of the Graduate and Family Housing as well as members of the campus community, providing the residents with a stronger connection to the campus community through association and interaction.”