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Interning in the community garden

By Zachary Araki
On February 22, 2018

Vice President of Reconnect Dipika Ghimire pulls carrots from a plot in the Community Garden. As the community garden intern, Ghimire hopes to better structure the garden and get more people interested. Zachary Araki/The Lion’s Roar

As this semester’s community garden intern, freshman biological sciences major and Vice President of Reconnect Dipika Ghimire seeks to better structure the community garden and make it better known in the community.

Located behind the Sustainability Center, the community garden allows students to grow their own food such as carrots and spinach. Funded by the Student Government Association, the food is donated to the university food pantry. Ghimire hopes to oversee the community garden more than the previous semester. 

“Last semester, it was not managed because there was no intern for the community garden,” said Ghimire. “So, this semester I am going to be taking care of the community garden and making sure that all the vegetables and all the plants in there are watered nicely and the weeds are pulled off, and I’m also going to be doing some decorations. I’m making some benches, and we are getting more of a face so that we can grow more flowers in that and also increase the decorations.”

Ghimire aims to organize the work by assigning three plots per five people and make a small compost pile. She discussed why she sees the need to make the work more systematic than last semester.

“Starting the semester, they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna grow lots of vegetables,’ and at the end of the semester, there is nothing in the plot, nothing, just weeds,” said Ghimire. “Last semester, one person would have a plot, and then they would turn up once in three months or something like that. So, this semester, I’m going to make a group and make a timetable so that one person can come in like 15 days, and the next member can come and water the plants in the next 15 days. That way we all can make the garden.”

Working in the garden provides more benefits than learning about plants. Since the internship is a part of sociology, Ghimire has to build connections with the community.

“I have to find ways in which I can connect the garden with connecting people together,” said Ghimire. “So, what we do is we are a group of people, around 20 people, and we just go to the garden. We just manage the work, and we find out ways in which we can promote our relationship with other people and we can make good friends, and at the same time, we have fun.”

The concept of sustainability drew Ghimire to join Reconnect and to become the community garden intern.

“I was searching for biology clubs, and there was BUGS, and one of the clubs was Reconnect,” said Ghimire. “And, I saw it, and it was like we promote sustainability, and we promote local food.”

Both of Ghimire’s parents are organic farmers who own a farm stay program. Ghimire hopes to continue this practice and make her own farm stay.

“I’m studying plant science so that I can know more about plants and I can know how I can use the plants and how I can make a systematic farm,” said Ghimire. “My ultimate goal is to make a farm and start teaching people about organic farming.”

Ghimire compared farming in Nepal to farming in Louisiana.

“We have one farm, which is in the flatlands, and it’s quite similar to here except the climate is unpredictable here and it’s predictable there,” said Ghimire. “We have different kinds of crops. There are so many plants that people don’t know over here, and so many plants that I don’t recognize over here.”

Ghimire wants more people to know about the community garden and to see it grow.

“It’s a fine way to grow our own food and in a sustainable way, meaning we have been eating all the junk food, and it’s a good way to grow something in our own house, in front of our own house,” said Ghimire. “If you don’t know, you can come here and start working together, and we can get some knowledge about how to grow in our own house. Right now, I think it’s going slowly, but I think they’re trying to do a farming culture, and I’ll be doing the composting. I would like them to know more about it now."

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