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Students volunteer to help the Permaculture Garden bloom

LIAM BRADDY, Channels Staff

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Student volunteers teamed up with members of the Student Sustainability Coalition Friday afternoon to bring new life to the West Campus Permaculture Garden.

The smell of sunscreen mixed with fresh thyme filled the air as students armed themselves with pitchforks, shovels and wheelbarrows. The group worked together for hours and made numerous additions to the sun-soaked garden.

“It’s really nice to just help out the school and get involved,” said Evelin Silva, a volunteer and student at City College.

Volunteers worked to include a variety of new plants to the garden, including blueberries, asparagus and two nectarine trees.

Blue sensations and Spanish lavender were planted under the direction of coalition members who helped teach the volunteers proper gardening techniques.

The event was organized by the Center for Sustainability which works side by side with the coalition.

Kendall Craig is the manager for the Center for Sustainability and helped organize this special event.

“It’s an opportunity for hands on learning that brings students, faculty and teachers together,” Craig said.

The group started the day moving and dispersing an enormous pile of mulch around the garden before planting began. The mulch was provided free of charge by Santa Barbara County.

During breaks in the action, volunteers cooled off in the shade and enjoyed free healthy snacks while getting an opportunity to meet the coalition members that laid the initial groundwork for the garden.

“A lot of the people here helping out have been with us since the very beginning,” said Jackson Hayes, Associated Student Government commissioner of sustainability and coalition member. “It’s really nice to have people with that kind of commitment.”

As the work continued, curious students passed by and occasionally stopped to see what the commotion was about.

It wasn’t long before most of those same students were also bustling around the garden and contributing to the project.

“This is my school,” student volunteer Rohaam Miarkiani said. “I just thought this was a great way to give something back.”

The permaculture garden is meant to be a “living classroom” that provides students with a unique hands on learning experience, Craig said.

Hayes and Craig said that the garden not only benefits the community at City College, but also has a positive impact that stretches outside of the campus.

While up to his knees in mulch, Hayes explained that all the food grown in the garden is to be donated to the Santa Barbara Food Bank.

“It is a great way for the school to show its support for the local community,” Craig said. “It’s environmental and social justice at the same time.”

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Students volunteer to help the Permaculture Garden bloom