UNLV’s gardening club hopes to turn new leaf with volunteers

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The sun shines on the Campus Community Garden before garden maintenance begins. The garden offers students and faculty a chance to connect with nature and give back to the community. Photo courtesy of Andie Davis

The Rebel Roots club hopes to see gardening grow on the UNLV community this semester as they revitalize the Campus Community Garden. After nearly two years of being unable to meet in-person, the club is looking for new members and volunteers to prepare the garden for its grand reopening, tentatively set in October. 

“It’s been shut down since school shut down,” Community Garden Coordinator and President of Rebel Roots Andie Davis said. “We’re building it back basically from ground zero.”

The Community Garden is nestled between the Rebel Recycling Center and the Stan Fulton Building in the northwest corner of campus. It houses 41 raised garden beds that student organizations, academic departments, learning groups and any group of four people or more can apply to rent. As the year progresses, groups nurture their plots in the hope of producing fresh produce.

Rebel Roots serves as the club for students who don’t necessarily belong to another organization or group but still want to get involved with the garden. It’s low-stakes and people who just want to see the garden are welcome to reach out to schedule a garden tour. 

“I think volunteer days are by far the most important thing that we have going for the garden right now,” Davis said. “There’s lots of weeds and trash and we have a row of outdoor composters that were meant to be there for community gardeners to use, but they’re broken down.”

The club currently has five volunteer days planned throughout September and October in preparation for their reopening, including one on UNLV Service Day through UNLV Volunteers. Anyone with an interest in gardening or willingness to do garden maintenance is encouraged to join them. Volunteers can expect to be weeding, cleaning the composting area and doing other general upkeep tasks in the garden. 

“Another major theme this year is we’re focusing on addressing food scarcity and food insecurity,” Davis said. “We plan on working with the UNLV Food Pantry closely this semester and encouraging garden plot owners to consider donating any of their produce to the food pantry, and hopefully we’ll get some donations that way.”

Above all, Davis stressed that gardening can be an act of self-care that strengthens the community.  

“I know everyone has their own coping mechanisms and coping skills, but gardening and dealing with living things and caring for living things is one of the best things out there,” Davis said. “So, even if you’re messing up with others and having fun with others that’s the whole point. It’s just connecting to other people and connecting to the earth and connecting to yourself.”

For more information about meetings, events and other ways to get involved check out their website at www.rebelroots.org. When the garden is up and running again they hope to re-invite the UNLV community to enjoy it. 

“The more diverse help that we get from different clubs and organizations, all walks of life from the UNLV campus, I think the better,” Davis said. “It makes it feel more like a community if it’s not just the same people every time.”

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