By Blake Wedding — 

It is no secret that many of the options that most students have for food and meals while living on campus are fairly limited and normally unhealthy.

While this is an issue that affects a large assortment of students at the University of Louisville, first-year students and students who rely primarily on University dining services seem to be influenced most by the somewhat questionable food choices.

The University’s Garden Commons project is working to help students with these issues while also utilizing the project to weigh in on more far-reaching, troubling issues.

Seniors Avalon Gupta-VerWiebe and Ellie Miller are the current lead interns for the project.

They are passionately leading the way for the future of the Garden Commons, endeavoring to educate students on the importance of self-sustainability when it comes to healthy food.

“The gardening beds were built in 2010. Green houses were built maybe five years ago. I started three years ago,” Miller said. “The food that we grow is available for students to come and harvest. We want people to have access to produce, but we also hope that people will come and volunteer at their convenience. It’s amazing how many students don’t take us up on the free produce.”

Miller made it very clear that students’ health is one of the key focuses the Garden Commons has in mind, but it’s only their first initiative.

“We are focused on nutrition with the produce that we plant here, but we’re also aspiring to help educate students about their environment,” Miller said. “We want to teach students that you can grow food in an urban environment.”

The Garden Commons plants and harvests a variety of fruits and vegetables every year such as watermelons, cauliflower, broccoli and tomatoes.

“As a public health student, we see a lot of students that don’t have access to those fruits or vegetables. Not to throw UofL dining services under the bus, but there’s just not a lot of access to that. Having fresh produce here makes it easier,” Gupta-VerWiebe said.

For those interested in volunteering, the Garden Commons has work days every Friday from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Simply show up and they will help you get started.

From planting to composting, you’ll be able to accomplish a variety of tasks. The Garden Commons is located next to the Cultural Center and Alumni Center. You can learn more about the Garden Commons through their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr / The Louisville Cardinal