Student associations provide fresh produce for campus Food Pantry

Some PNW students may soon be enjoying fresh produce grown on the Hammond campus.

The Student Government Association, in collaboration with the Honors College, will soon start tending community gardens. Fresh herbs and vegetables grown there will be donated to the university’s food pantry, which will make the produce available to students and community members in need. 

“I took on this project as I am quite passionate about sustainability,” said Aneri Patel, SGA chief of staff, who is overseeing the garden’s planning and development. “This community garden’s primary purpose is to provide fresh vegetables and herbs to PNW students.”

Garden beds have already been cultivated behind Hammond’s Fitness and Recreation Center and its two dormitory buildings. There are no immediate plans to plant gardens in Westville.

“This initiative is taking place throughout the academic year,” said Patel, “We have already cleaned out the gardens from the previous years and plan to plant them in the Spring.”

Volunteers from SGA and the Honors College will care for the garden plots during the school year.  

Patel said he expects volunteers will focus on vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes and broccoli. 

Fresh vegetables will be a treat for users of the PNW food pantry.

The pantry was established after a survey found that 75% of students said there were times when they did not have enough food for themselves. The problem is common nationwide.  One study of nearly 167,000 college students found that rates of food insecurity for students at four-year colleges range from 35% to 48%.

“I cannot wait to give back to the community,” said Patel. “To be a part of something that can make an impact on the environment and a positive change in others’ lives is truly fulfilling.”