AU garden produces over 1,000 lbs. of produce for area food banks

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - For the first time in few years, a garden is growing near Auburn University with the specific purpose of helping to feed residents in the community.

The Food Bank Garden has already donated more than 1,000 lbs. of produce to the Food Bank of East Alabama this year, according to Zach Ogles, an Auburn PhD student in Crop Soils and Environmental Science.

Ogles and Beth Guertal, professor of agronomy in the College of Agriculture, revived the garden this year after a necessary hiatus due to a lack of volunteers. Guertal originally started the garden in 2006.

"Dr. Guertal is a very generous person who really wants to do good for those less fortunate," said Ogles. "I believe she saw this garden as an opportunity to do that."

Guertal says Ogles is the garden's main operator, doing most of the watering, fertilizing and harvesting.

This summer's garden produce includes 500 tomato plants, as well 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 produce is taken directly to either the Food Bank of East Alabama or to the Community Market in Opelika, an extension of the food bank, with no middle-man involved.

"The garden is able to operate from grants and donations Dr. Guertal has received for the garden," Ogles said.

The 14,375 sq. ft. garden is always in need of volunteers, whether it is picking the produce for the food bank or delivering produce directly to the food bank.

To learn more about the garden and to get involved, email Guertal at

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