UofL’s first organic garden is expanding


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Garden Commons, a 6,000-square-foot organic garden on the north end of the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus, will undergo a major expansion Saturday.

    Around 50 volunteers are expected to turn out for the project. Some will erect a greenhouse, build and plant raised garden beds and set up compost bins and rain barrels. Others will stain benches, spread mulch and lay pervious pavers – paving stones that allow water to drain through to the soil – to form the foundation of a new outdoor classroom.

    UofL Fulbright scholar Paige Battcher, UofL’s Cultural Center and Louisville Grows, a non-profit group that promotes sustainability, teamed up to create the garden in March 2010. So far, student volunteers have grown broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, tomatoes and basil at the site.

    About $26,000 in private money is funding the expansion, including a $12,500 anonymous gift and a $13,500 grant from AkzoNobel, a global manufacturer of paint, coatings and specialty chemicals whose wood finishes and adhesives business is based in Louisville.

    Chloe Crabtree, a rising UofL junior and incoming president of the student organization operating Garden Commons, says working in the garden has given her a new sense of purpose.

    “It’s reconnected me with the earth,” she said. “I feel pride when I grow my own food and cook it. It’s become my passion.”

    Efforts also are under way to incorporate the garden’s produce into meals served at campus dining halls. UofL students and employees are likely to begin sampling the garden’s harvest this fall.

    For more details on Garden Commons, call Battcher at 502-724-4006, Crabtree at 502-550-2970, or Michael Anthony, director of UofL’s Cultural Center, at 502-744-6438.