HSC Community Garden continues to provide organic fresh produce to food banks

By Oreoluwa Obayan

Garden Shovel Plot Web

The HSC Fort Worth Community Garden continues to grow fresh organic produce for those experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic — while following guidelines for physical distancing and sanitizing.

The garden last year donated 150 pounds of fresh produce to local food banks and the HSC Student Food Pantry.

This spring the garden, cultivated by community members as well as our students, staff and faculty, continues to provide fresh food to the Northside Inter-Community Agency, as the garden has done since its founding. In partnership with the Tarrant Area Food Bank, the HSC garden also will serve other food banks, as the need arises. TAFB has increased its distribution of food 65 percent in the past few weeks.

Celina Esekawu
Celina Esekawu, Community Garden Administrative Associate

Several gardeners who aren’t coming to campus during the coronavirus crisis have granted permission for others, including Community Garden Administrative Associate Celina Esekawu, to plant and tend their plots. The Office of Sustainability plans to continue growing food in all 35 of the 4-by-12-foot plots.

“My expectation for the garden is that it will yield more food than last year by reaching our goal to donate 300 pounds of produce by the end of the year,” says Esekawu. “However, even if we aren’t able to reach our goal, the main priority for the garden right now is to serve the community and supplement the high demand for food among our students and community members.”

“The garden has donated 1,324 pounds of organic vegetables, herbs and fruit since it was established six years ago,” says Sustainability Coordinator Sandy Bauman. “When we donate to food banks, we take about one-fourth of what is ripe from each plot. Our gardeners are free to use the rest for themselves or in many cases, the gardeners donate to others more informally.”

Community Gardener of six years Sherry Burton, Senior Financial Manager for Institutional Advancement, says, “I like knowing that I’m helping those who may not have easy access to food.”

The work is good for the gardeners, as well. “Gardening can be relaxing and a good exercise and fresh-air activity,” says Senior Associate Dean for Family Medicine David Mason, DO. “It feels good to help the HSC community garden and its local partners.”

The HSC Office of Sustainability and the Sustainability Committee first launched the garden in 2014 with 16 plots, turning a quarter-acre of lawn into yet another way HSC promotes a healthy community, plus sustainable food production and nutrition knowledge. The garden is maintained by HSC students, staff and faculty, and community members.

Abiding by CDC recommendations, garden access has been tailored to fit the Stay-At-Home Order. HSC’s Facilities Management Department requests that gardeners:

  • Minimize time in the garden. The usual requirement of shared tasks, such as mulching paths, has been suspended.
  • Practice prevention measures when working in the garden.
  • Practice social distancing of 6 feet between people.
  • Use hand sanitizer, soap, gloves (garden and nitrile) and face masks while moving in and out of the garden.

More information on the garden is here.

Recent News

  • Our People
|May 23, 2024

SBS grad is ready for success at the next level

When Jordan Easterling decided she wanted to go to medical school, she knew she needed excellent health and science training to help her get there. She found the Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s School of Biomedical ...
Ashley Gentry Headshot
  • Our People
|May 22, 2024

Faculty highlight: Ashley Gentry

Ashley Gentry is an associate professor in The University of Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Dallas Baptist University and graduated from the HSC Physician Assistant Program in 2012 with a Master of P...
Sbs 2024 Grad Temioluwa Bolaji Oyenekan
  • Our People
|May 20, 2024

SBS grad wants to be a ‘beacon of hope’ for others

When Temiloluwa Bolaji-Oyenekan set her sights on medical school, finishing her undergraduate degree during the height of the COVID- 19 pandemic was not a part of the plan. Fortunately, resilience is a part of her character. The timing left her feeling unprepared to apply to medical schools, so she...
Sbs 2024 Grad Whitney Miller
  • Our People
|May 20, 2024

On her way to medical school, SBS graduate makes time to give back

When Whitney Miller crosses the stage at The University of North Texas at Health Science Center’s graduation ceremony, she’ll be celebrating some major accomplishments: earning a Master of Science in Clinical Research Management from the School of Biomedical Sciences and her recent acceptance in...