SUNY Cortland’s Garden Advisory Committee is dedicated to creating and maintaining a garden on campus, located between Van Hoesen Hall and Memorial Library.
Over the summer, these nine planter boxes were cultivated by a few campus gardeners who maintained an educational tool for the campus community to raise awareness about sustainability.
Sarah Beshers, associate professor in the Health Department and chair of the Garden Advisory Committee, managed the committee’s work this summer. She gushed over how proud and how much of a success this turned out to be in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
“It’s nice because it’s visual, it’s hands-on and it engages people of the campus community, particularly during a pandemic,” Beshers said. “It was one of the few bright spots to see the summer gardeners get to work and be satisfied with themselves and their work in a positive way.”
Summer gardener Karen Diescher, a teacher in the Child Care Center on campus, usually gardens with the children. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Diescher and the children have not been able to garden since college students have returned to campus.
Committee member Tana Armitstead, supervisor of catering services of the Bistro for Cortland Auxiliary, kept herself busy as she was in charge of three garden plots this summer. Garlic was the main vegetable grown, as were a variety of flowers.
In the past, vegetables grown from the garden were given to Cortland Auxiliary to use in the dining halls. However, with the facilities closed due to COVID-19, the produce couldn’t be used this way.
The pandemic did not have a major impact on the ability to maintain the garden and keep it flourishing.
The committee is grateful for the assistance of Josh McLaughlin, head grounds supervisor. He kept the soil in very good shape and helped with the hose, shed and supplied compost.
Practicing sustainable gardening gives hope to future generations at SUNY Cortland.
“I think Cortland has to care about sustainability, as does everyone,” Beshers said. “Cortland does a lot more on sustainability. This is really just one small piece of a bigger picture of the work that the campus is doing around sustainability.”
SUNY Cortland will continue to go green with the help of its hardworking community, faculty, staff and students.
Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Christina Cargulia