By Thalía Guzmán
Pulse Staff Reporter
Palo Alto College’s Horticulture program, Student Life, and the S.H.A.R.E Center are launching a new project to increase health and wellness in the community.
The Community Garden at Palo Alto College will teach the student body and the surrounding community how to cultivate their own food. The new project will consist of a one-acre space located on campus along Alamo Street at Jennifer Street.
“The community garden will be open to the public, where Horticulture students will be involved in helping educate the community on how to essentially grow your own food,” said Rose Flores, lead instructor of Horticulture Science at Palo Alto College.
Community members and students will have the opportunity to secure their own plot and grow what they like, such as fruits, vegetables and decorative plants. Ty Chumbley, lead instructor of PAC’s Agriculture program, and the AmeriCorps Vista Healthy Hub team at PAC will also contribute to this community engagement and holistic education project.
The Healthy Hub team also hosts a Farmers Market at PAC every fourth Monday of the month, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. in Parking Lot 1 (outside the Palomino Center) except for December because of the holiday break. Location may vary.
Students may purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from the San Antonio Food Bank’s Mobile Mercado, the college’s Horticulture Department and other vendors. These organizations will eventually join in the Community Garden.
“A lot of people who live on the South Side may not know that they are actually living in a food desert, which is classified by the USDA as basically being more difficult than average to access healthy and fresh foods,” said Ignacio Trevino, AmeriCorps Vista Healthy Hub coordinator at PAC.
The Healthy Hub Vista team provides social and wellness resources to improve the health of San Antonio’s South Side residents. The advisory committee hopes to have many members of the community participate in this wellness project.
“Non-traditional education, outdoor education and gardening education is what brought me here to Palo Alto to work on this Healthy Hub project. We are focused on food security and food access, and one of those components is this Community Garden,” said Samantha Abney, another AmeriCorps Vista Healthy Hub coordinator.
The one-acre garden space will also feature an orchard with an irrigation component, a greenhouse, 30 raised beds, a rain garden for excess nutrient removal, and a two-story hub brewery. The Community Garden hopes to complete Phase One by the end of November 2018. The garden itself will open in the Spring of 2019.
For more information, contact Student Life or the AmeriCorps Vista organization in the Student Center Annex at Palo Alto College, Room 101, at (210) 486-3395.