AU garden produces over 1,000 lbs. of produce for area food banks
Zach Ogles at the Auburn Food Bank Garden. Photo courtesy ocm.auburn.edu.
AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -
For the first time in few years, a garden is growing nearAuburn University with the specific purpose of helping to feed residents in thecommunity.
The Food Bank Garden has already donated more than 1,000lbs. of produce to the Food Bank of East Alabama this year, according to ZachOgles, an Auburn PhD student in Crop Soils and Environmental Science.
Ogles and Beth Guertal, professor of agronomy in the Collegeof Agriculture, revived the garden this year after a necessary hiatus due to alack of volunteers. Guertal originally started the garden in 2006.
"Dr. Guertalis a very generous person who really wants to do good for those lessfortunate," said Ogles. "I believe she saw this garden as an opportunity to dothat."
Guertal says Ogles is the garden's main operator, doing mostof the watering, fertilizing and harvesting.
This summer's garden produce includes 500 tomato plants, aswell as cucumbers, bell peppers,green beans, squash, zucchini, okra and cantaloupes. At the end of the summer,Ogles will replant the garden with cool-weather produce such as broccoli,cauliflower and collard greens.
All produceis taken directly to either the Food Bank of East Alabama or to the CommunityMarket in Opelika, an extension of the food bank, with no middle-man involved.
"The gardenis able to operate from grants and donations Dr. Guertal has received for thegarden," Ogles said.
The 14,375sq. ft. garden is always in need of volunteers, whether it is picking theproduce for the food bank or delivering produce directly to the food bank.