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Cultivating Growth: Merrimack College Garden Blossoms into a Hub of Sustainable Education and Community Engagement

By: Tyler Backus

NORTH ANDOVER, MA — A green haven that embodies community involvement, education, and sustainability has emerged behind Merrimack College. Growing as a center of agricultural innovation and environmental awareness, the Merrimack College Garden has come to represent development on campus

Merrimack College’s garden is a marvel of teamwork and learning at an age of environmental concerns and burgeoning interest in sustainable living. What began as a modest undertaking has grown into an important endeavor that not only nourishes students’ minds but also takes care of the environment and establishes a connection between the college and the community.

With the help of committed faculty members and motivated by a desire for experiential learning and sustainability, Merrimack College students have turned an abandoned piece of ground into a thriving garden. The garden acts as an outdoor classroom where students learn about various areas of agriculture and environmental protection. It also supplies fresh vegetables to the campus dining facilities.

Dr. Lisa Perks, the Merrimack College Garden’s manager and a professor of communications, stressed the garden’s significance as a teaching resource:

“The Merrimack College Garden offers students a unique opportunity to engage with the environment.”and she also said “I love participating in the growing process, students gain valuable insights into sustainable practices and develop a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of our ecosystem.”

In addition to being important for education, the Merrimack College Garden is essential for building community ties. This fosters a feeling of community among students and the larger community by enabling everyone who attends Merrimack, regardless of whether they are volunteers from nearby communities, to actively participate in garden activities.

The garden has developed into a lively place where information is exchanged, relationships are made, and a shared commitment to sustainability is reaffirmed through workshops, seminars, and community events.

Tom Geraci, a Merrimack College student and frequent garden volunteer, shared his thoughts on the experience: “Being a part of the Merrimack College Garden has allowed me really get in touch with nature and really open my eyes on how much work it takes to grow the food we eat every day.”

A tangible representation of Merrimack College’s commitment to comprehensive education and community involvement is the garden. The garden nurtures students’ minds, promotes sustainable behaviors, and forges strong ties within the community, all of which are vital in the pursuit of a more sustainable future.

The Merrimack College Garden serves as a reminder that positive change begins with small, determined steps in a world where environmental challenges loom.

The journey of the Merrimack College Garden began with a shared vision among passionate students and dedicated faculty members. Fueled by their enthusiasm for sustainable living, they rolled up their sleeves and started to till the soil, planting the seeds of a project that would soon capture the imagination of the entire campus.

Under the guidance of Professor Dr. Perks, the garden became more than just a collection of fruits and vegetables it became an educational sanctuary where students could connect with nature in a profound and meaningful way.

“The garden allows me to destress from all the pressure and work of going to college and lets me get to relax and even have the possibility of making new friendships.” Tom also said

Dr. Perks, with her wealth of knowledge in sustainable agriculture, has been a guiding force behind the garden’s success. Her expertise not only educates students but also inspires them to think critically about the environmental challenges facing our world today.

Beyond the classroom, the Merrimack College Garden serves as a vibrant outdoor learning environment. Here, students explore the delicate balance between human activity and nature, learning about sustainable agricultural practices, organic farming, and the importance of biodiversity.

The garden, in essence, has become an experiential classroom where theoretical knowledge meets the practical intricacies of nature, fostering a deeper understanding of the ecosystem.