Green Patch community garden grows a new partnership

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: June 23, 2022 8:00 a.m.

The Green Patch is great source of healthy food and outdoor fun (or just a nice place to eat your lunch) for the U of R campus community.
The Green Patch is great source of healthy food and outdoor fun (or just a nice place to eat your lunch) for the U of R campus community. Photo: RPIRG

It’s growing season and the Green Patch – a 5,400 square-foot fruit and vegetable garden next to the Dr. Lloyd Barber Academic Green – is back for its 11th year of helping feed our campus community.

Operated by the student-run Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG), the Green Patch is a source of sustainable, locally grown organic food – part of a campus movement for community engagement and sustainable development.

After a period of limited activity during the pandemic, former garden coordinator and current RPIRG Outreach and Events Coordinator Tayef Ahmed is excited about the garden being back in full swing and once again growing food for the campus community.

“It’s a very good opportunity – not just for students, but for faculty and staff as well – to meet new people while getting outside and having fun in the garden,” said Ahmed. “For students, volunteering at the garden is also a great experience to list on your resume.”

Student in the garden

RPIRG Outreach and Events Coordinator Tayef Ahmed is excited for another year of providing free, sustainable, and organic food for the U of R campus community. Photo: RPIRG.

A Proud Partnership

New this year, UR Pride and its 55+ Club have partnered with RPIRG to operate a section of the Green Patch named the Rainbow Garden.

UR Pride Seniors Coordinator Mirtha Rivera knew that members of the queer seniors group were interested in gardening and had been feeling isolated during the pandemic, so she had the idea to start an intergenerational community garden as a way to get together and socialize outdoors.

Rivera teamed up with UR Pride Communications and Marketing Coordinator and U of R student Ryan Lizee, who recognized an opportunity for a partnership right here on campus at the Green Patch.

“I realized we had a community garden on campus and UR Pride has collaborated with RPIRG in the past so I reached out to them and they got back to me right away,” said Lizee. “They were super nice and we scheduled a meeting and went from there.”

People in the garden
UR Pride Communications & Marketing Director Ryan Lizee (left) and UR Pride Seniors Coordinator Mirtha Rivera (second from left) tend the Rainbow Garden on June 22, 2022 with 55+ Club members Bruce Bishop (second from right) and Jean Hillabould (right). Photo: UAC.

“The Green Patch was started because RPIRG was studying how community gardening can help with food insecurity, which I really dig,” said Lizee (pun not intended). “Self-sustainability and growing your own food is really important, plus gardening is just really fun.”

“And you get to eat it!” adds Rivera.

Rivera successfully applied for a mini grant from Righting Relations, a movement of adult educators working towards decolonization and radical social change, to support the Rainbow Garden’s mission to connect different generations of the queer community who want to participate, learn, and share the products from the garden.

Members of the Righting Relations Western Hub intend to visit the garden soon to experience first-hand how the Rainbow Garden is helping create human connections.

“Everyone in the Green Patch group has been so accepting of us,” said Rivera. “They come over and visit with us, offer help, and even exchange ideas and seeds.”

Rivera and the rest of the UR Pride team are looking forward to when they can harvest the garden and get together for an end-of-season celebration of their hard work.

To find out when you can pick up fresh, organic fruits and vegetables from the Green Patch or to sign-up to volunteer, visit the Green Patch website and stay tuned to their Facebook page.

The University of Regina has committed to creating a healthy campus community and learning environment in its 2020-25 strategic plan All Our Relations, or kahkiyaw kiwȃhkomȃkȃninawak in Cree.

Well-being and Belonging is one of the five areas of focus in the strategic plan, and includes objectives related to strengthening the University’s commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Healthy Living, and Mental Health Literacy and Research.

The University is also committed to bolstering our education and research activities to positively influence a culture of sustainability through Environment & Climate Action.