‘Inch by Inch,
Row by Row…’
When layoffs last spring raised awareness that many in the University
community struggle to feed their
families, Tommy Griffin, chair of the
Employee Forum, began hearing
requests for a food bank. That sparked
the idea for an employee-run garden
on campus, and a subsequent survey
revealed broad support. Claire Lorch
’ 76 is coordinating a volunteer team
of staff, faculty, students and community members who aim to launch the
garden this spring.
The N.C. Botanical Garden has
sponsored the project, and the Center
for Health Promotion and Disease
Prevention is contributing expertise.
The University has agreed to provide
temporary use of a plot off Cameron
Avenue, along with water and
machinery to break up the ground.
Landscape architects have donated
designs, and the local charitable foundation Strowd Roses has granted initial funding.
The planners envision the garden
not just as a source of food but as a
springboard for classes in bio-intensive
agriculture, composting, container gardening and nutritious cooking.
Researching what we eat
Surrounded by this constellation of
effort and opinion, Alice Ammerman’s
research project is getting under way.
Receiving funding as a Gillings Innovation
Lab has allowed her to take the eclectic
approach that encompasses nutrition, economics and global warming.
The Innovation Lab setup “gives us a lot
of opportunity to see how all these things
fit together,” she has said. It also encourages
practical outcomes: information that can be
used to further develop sustainable agriculture, farmers’ markets and the other elements of integrated local food systems.
Ammerman’s team includes dozens of
collaborators from numerous agencies and
organizations. She’s pulling in faculty expert-
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