UMA’s Community Gardens are seedbeds for social connection and civic engagement.
Over the last few years, the University of Maine at Augusta Community Gardens have been reborn as educational centers that integrate coursework, research, student clubs, campus events, and outreach to surrounding communities
In the gardens, growing community and growing food take place side by side. The vegetables we grow are donated to on-campus food closets and off-campus food banks to as part of our commitment to address food insecurity in the state of Maine. In this way, the UMA Community Gardens are not just projects for engagement but also for service and justice.
The Augusta Campus Community Garden
We had a wonderful summer at the UMA Augusta Community Garden, and our growing season isn’t done yet! If you’d like to meet us and learn a little bit more about what we do here in the big 9000 square-foot Augusta garden, you can find us just north of Jewett Hall, right by the bronze Moose statue we know and love. We garden at many times as the season needs, but weather permitting we are sure to gather on Wednesdays from 11 AM to 1 PM. We’d love to meet you there.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the latest goings-on:
- Our sunflower labyrinth has grown tall! White clover makes the path of the labyrinth, with its nitrogen-fixing properties adding health to the garden soil and its many flowers helping our friends the bees. We have three kinds of sunflower growing in the garden (at three different heights), and we expect that by the end of August we’ll have some big, lovely blooms to make the walls of this walkable path. In the center: a secluded relaxation space with an aromatic herb garden. Come on over and give it a try!
- In the Fall Semester, we continue our tradition of Wednesday lunches — we’ll hold these in the garden as long as the weather holds out, and bring them inside when the snow makes it just too cold to keep going. This fall, our lunches are potlucks — and we’re having campfires with s’mores to go along with them! Come by at noon each Wednesday — everyone is welcome here.
- In the Summer, we made interdisciplinary connections with members of the photography class holding court in the garden and asking passersby share their answer to the question, “What Does Community Look Like?” The result was a photographic exhibition at which donations to the Augusta Food Bank were solicited. Big thanks go out to Prof. Robert Rainey and members of the photography class for making this happen.
- Harvest has continued strongly — as of September 26, we have picked over 660 pounds of organic vegetables and donated them to the Augusta Food Bank, where food-insecure Mainers can go to find ingredients for healthy meals.
Visit the UMA Augusta Garden on Facebook or call 207-621-3190 to find out more!
The Bangor Campus Community Garden
The UMA Bangor Community Garden is a space for anyone to explore the world of gardening. Don’t hesitate to get involved! Can you dig it?
The garden is growing!
We currently have about 1500 square feet of growing space planted. There is zucchini, sage, tomato and basil, carrots, beets, peas, beans, chard, kale, sunflowers, pumpkins, and Iroquois corn planted in the main plot. In the raised beds we have strawberries, potatoes, onions, and peppers.
There has been a small but dedicated group of students out every week for our regular Thursday volunteer hours (10:00am – 1:00pm). A handful of students and staff have come to the Bangor Community Garden events, including a bonfire with s’mores, rock painting, and a water gun fight. We have a lot of fun! Everyone is welcome. The more the merrier, and no experience necessary.
A group of students and staff met out at the Bog Walk early this summer to meet with Jim Bird and a group of Bog Walk volunteers. They loaded up 9 sections of the old boardwalk, which are made of hemlock – a very durable wood. 6 of the sections have been converted into raised beds, and the last 3 will be converted into a large compost bin for the garden’s green waste. The Bog Walk crew were happy to have the sections reused.
Sprague’s kindly give us a good price and delivery deal on 10 yards of high quality soil and compost mix. A little later in the summer, we intend to put together a small plaque or sign thanking the Bog Walk and Sprague’s for their support to help our garden grow.
We’ve planted our first tree! An apple tree from Food And Medicine’s Solidarity Harvest Benefit Auction was donated it to the garden by Dr. Corlew, and has been names “Clementine” by the students. The sapling came from North Branch Farm in Monroe, ME. They (and the folks at FAM) were delighted to hear the tree is in our community garden.
See our Garden Events
Please use this contact form to find out more about the UMA Community Gardens.
Cultivating Community: The Garden Seminar
Spring of 2016 marked the first offering of SSC 334, Cultivating Community: The Garden Seminar. This course applies theory and research in sociology and psychology to the practice of growing a community garden, but also to the challenge of growing a successful student organization that supports and sustains the garden. In the process of increasing food security and building a better community, students gain skills in academic analysis, organizing, mobilizing, framing and (yes!) gardening.
SSC 334 was team-taught by faculty members Dr. Kati Corlew and Dr. James Cook for three years, moving back and forth from Augusta to Bangor in alternating years. Now that gardens on both campuses are taking off, starting in Spring 2019 our team is splitting up to allow the course to be taught every year on both the Bangor and Augusta campses!
We’d love to see you in our Cultivating Community class this upcoming Spring. If you’re interested in joining the Bangor class, contact Dr. Corlew (phone: 207-262-7752 | e-mail email@example.com) for more information. If you’d like to know more about the Augusta class, contact Dr. Cook (phone: 207-621-3190 | e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). We look forward to hearing from you.