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Green Patch celebrates five years of growth

By Dale Johnson Posted: September 16, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Celebrating five years of RPIRG’s Green Patch are (l-r) Emily Barber, outreach and events co-ordinator; Anna Dipple, executive director and Leonel Elias, Green Patch coordinator.
Celebrating five years of RPIRG’s Green Patch are (l-r) Emily Barber, outreach and events co-ordinator; Anna Dipple, executive director and Leonel Elias, Green Patch coordinator. Photo: External Relations

Going green, learning about gardening, helping students, and contributing to the community – that’s what the RPIRG Green Patch means as it marks its fifth anniversary.

The garden is located at the north end of the Lloyd Barber Academic Green, next to the Archer Library.

“The Green Patch provides an educational opportunity for students and other community members, allowing them to learn about gardening, as well as learn about how food is produced and where it comes from,” explains says Leonel Elias, who is this year’s Green Patch Coordinator, and was hired by the Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG), which manages the project.

Green Patch
Each fall dozens of volunteers show up to help with harvest and delivery of much needed fresh produce to Carmichael Outreach in Regina. (Photo - External Relations)

And the wider community also benefits from the efforts of the volunteers.  Most of the food that’s grown is donated to Carmichael Outreach.  

“Every year we increase the amount we produce, and the network of volunteers is on a constant rise. We have also increased our partnerships with faculties and departments, which we also seek to do more over the coming years,” Elias says.

He says the volunteers have various backgrounds. “We get Saskatchewan farm kids, and international students from Hong Kong. We have undergrad, grad, doctoral candidates, and faculty members. The ratio for female volunteers is noticeably higher than males.”

The Regina Public Interest Research Group in collaboration with the Edible Campus Committee (comprised of faculty members) and Facilities Management started the garden in 2012.

“A large portion of the work is done by these volunteers. On average we get about seven unique volunteers each week who volunteer for about an hour each,” he says.

About one-quarter of the produce is given to the volunteers, and about three-quarters is donated to  Carmichael Outreach.  Last year about 900 kilograms of produce was donated to Carmichael Outreach.

Marking the fifth anniversary is a time to reflect on success – and also to look to the future.

“Over the past five years the garden has become more efficient, and the process has been honed,” Elias says.

“Students, staff, faculty, and community members really support the idea. The potential for enlarging the garden is certainly there, though there are no plans yet. There are many departments who conduct experiments and research, and we would like to work closer with these departments by allowing them to utilize the garden to conduct some of this academic work.”

For more details, please check out the Green Patch Facebook page.