Lewisburg Community Garden and Bucknell Farm spotlight

Juliette Gaggini, Contributing Writer

The Lewisburg Community Garden and the Bucknell Farm encourage students to become more involved with agriculture and cultivation. Even with COVID-19 safety practices in place, both the garden and the farm are open to volunteers and are harvesting lots of food this semester.

Founded in 2012 and located at the intersection of North Water St. and St. Anthony St., the Lewisburg Community Garden is a joint project between the University and the Borough of Lewisburg. As stated on their website, the Community Garden’s mission is “to address food insecurity in our region by providing access to suitable growing space and by cultivating produce for donation to local food security programs.” The garden also hopes to provide educational support for those who wish to grow their own food as well as encourage more environmentally friendly food production.

There are multiple ways students can become involved in the Lewisburg Community Garden. The garden totals 18,600 square feet, which is divided into two portions: one portion for rentable plots and the other for the University and community volunteers to use for local hot meal and food bank programs. Individual plots of land can be rented by groups, families or individuals interested in growing food. Members can sign up as volunteers to help out around the other portion of the garden. Since 2012, the garden has had over 1,000 volunteers provide nearly 5,000 hours of service. Volunteers can help with basic garden maintenance, assist with educational and community-based programs, support fundraising events and develop ways for the garden to be more sustainable.

Located on a hill above the South Campus Apartments is the five-acre Bucknell Farm. Established in 2018, the farm builds off of the success of the Lewisburg Community Garden. The farm is used for both educational purposes and for growing food for the University Dining Services. The farm is still developing, but it is planned to include vegetable beds, a fruit orchard, an agroforest of native food-bearing trees, a pollinator habitat, an experimental wetland space, an outdoor classroom and a pollinator habitat. Volunteers at the farm work together to weed, harvest, water and more.

Jen Schneidman Partica is the University Farm and Garden Coordinator. Partica has been working at the Lewisburg Garden since 2015 and began working at the Bucknell Farm in 2018. Partica loves the hands-on nature of working at the farm. “It’s great to work with students, faculty, staff and community members, because I get to know so many interesting and amazing people and really feel a part of a community. I get to share what I know about growing really good food, and learn from others too. And it is so satisfying to harvest the food and know that I had a hand in making that happen,” Partica said.

Since its founding in 2012, the garden has donated more than 10,000 pounds of organic produce to hot meal and food bank programs. “Sustainable agriculture is connected to bigger social, political and economic issues, too. At the farm and the garden, we work toward the goal of everyone having access to enough nutritious food. To that end, we donate produce to local food access programs, including free community dinners and food pantries, like the University’s B-Eats,” Partica said.

Students interested in helping out at the Lewisburg Community Garden can sign up to volunteer on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-7 p.m. No experience is necessary to begin volunteering. The process for renting plots typically opens in early March. The garden is always accepting volunteers, and they are also open to donations.

Interested students can sign up to volunteer at the University Farm on Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m – 1 p.m. Up to 20 students can volunteer per session, but spots fill up very quickly.

“I started working at the farm because I was looking to branch out to other communities on campus. The farm has exceeded my expectations. I love connecting with the food and the amazing people there every week. Every time I go I leave having learned something new about the crops and the food growing process,” volunteer Megan Waldron ’22 said.

“I like volunteering at the farm because it gives me a chance to contribute to the community while also getting outdoors. It is a beautiful place to unwind after a long day and I love to meet new people when I go to volunteer there. It’s so awesome when we are able to take food back to our dorms with us,” volunteer Georgia Lambrakis ’23 said.

To learn more about volunteering at the Lewisburg Community Garden and the Bucknell Farm, contact Jen Schneidman Partica at [email protected].

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