By Tahlia Terhune

The cold weather does not stop life and growth in Pacific Lutheran University’s community garden, and the holiday season highlights the need for food for many local individuals and families. Hungry Pierce County residents could benefit from students’ spare time this winter.

PLU’s community garden, founded in 1997 by Brian Norman, is alive and well. Students, community members and faculty regularly keep this garden alive. Located on upper campus by Ingram Hall, the community garden is accessible for all PLU students.

Throughout the years the garden has evolved. The garden project was an aspiration for senior Brian Norman in 1997, but his plan was short-lived. It was forgotten until 2006, when students Kate Fontana and Becky Mares volunteered their summer bringing the garden back to life.

In 2007, the garden doubled in size, attracting more help from students and faculty. Community organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club were also involved in helping the garden grow. Since 2007, it has been a collaboration of efforts to provide fresh and organic food to the community.

Now partnered with local church Trinity Lutheran, the garden annually donates close to 2 tons of carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli and various other vegetables and herbs to the church.

Each month in Pierce County there are more than 115,000 visits made by children, adults and seniors seeking food assistance according to the Emergency Food Network (EFN).

Nationally, according to EFN, 19.5 percent of Americans live in hungry or food-insecure households. By lending spare time at the garden, students can ensure quality vegetables will be grown for local, hungry community members.
It’s a small way to make a big difference.

“I think it shows that our school and students of PLU want to try and fix the problem by giving food to those who are less fortunate,” junior Christian McConnell said.

Anyone is invited to stop by and lend a hand.

The garden has many unique features including raised gardening beds made to be wheelchair friendly. This garden has gone above and beyond to allow for inclusivity among Parkland resident.

This winter, if you get into the giving spirit and have some extra time, spend an afternoon tending to vegetables, improving landscaping or supporting the garden in any way you can.


For additional information, email the Community Garden at It may also provide updates and newsletters along with events.



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