The North Carolina Botanical Garden held the ribbon cutting of a new solar-powered greenhouse Friday and the opening of a new 13,000 square foot gardening space behind Davis Library Saturday.
The new greenhouse is a part of the Carolina Campus Community Garden, an educational gardening space on Wilson Street that also grows fruits and vegetables for lower-income UNC employees that may not have access to fresh produce.
The gardening space behind Davis Library is an expansion of Edible Campus, a similar North Carolina Botanical Garden initiative that puts usable plants in landscaping locations around campus.
“Sustainability is a major goal on this campus,” said Claire Lorch, Carolina Campus Community Garden education coordinator for the botanical gardens.
“We utilize a variety of different sustainable practices at the garden and so I think it’s wonderful to have an example of that so that students, faculty, staff can sort of see what it means.”
Both Edible Campus and the Carolina Campus Community Garden aim to provide opportunities for UNC staff, students and community members to learn about gardening and food sustainability.
The Edible Campus event had a celebratory atmosphere with a live jazz band and students happily digging into the dirt to plant new seeds.
Laura Mindlin, Edible Campus initiative coordinator for the botanical gardens, said she was thrilled with the turnout for the garden opening.
Chancellor Carol Folt attended the Edible Campus opening and planted her own fig tree.
The greenhouse opening included an outdoor reception outside the garden, a series of small speeches by those involved in the project and a tour of the newly installed greenhouse.
“This project was just itching to happen,” Mindlin said.
“Gardens are an incredible resource for University higher education, really for everyone, form its ability to build community in this really healthy way, to creating a space that people are connecting with the environment and the food they’re eating.”
Lorch said she was pleased with how many people came out to the greenhouse opening.
“It was just really exciting and heartwarming that all these different people took time out of their day to be there and also just sort of see the results,” Lorch said.
Provost Jim Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Enterprises Brad Ives both made small speeches at the greenhouse opening.
“I really came to the University for days like this,” Ives said.
Eli Murrey, co-chairperson of the Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee that helped pay for building the greenhouse, spoke about how the project required a lot of working together across different departments within the University.
“There’s a lot of pieces in the Carolina community and this is an example of what can happen when those pieces come together,” he said.
Tait Chandler, a UNC graduate and current technician for the Department of Environment, Health and Safety said even if the federal government has stalled its environmental efforts, UNC will continue to work to further sustainability in Chapel Hill.
“This is where all the change happens, at this level,” he said.