By Emily Niebuhr
Student Life Editor
Photos by Cassidy Winborn
At Tyler Junior College there is something beautiful behind Potter Hall and the Genecov Science Building where students pass by. It is TJC’s own garden, which has grown since it began in January 2017.
Dr. Ryan Button, professor of sociology and assistant director of the Presidential Honors Program, helped establish the garden and explained its main purpose.
“A school garden is a powerful environmental education tool,” Button said. “Through gardening, students become responsible caretakers. Also, they have an opportunity to engage in agricultural practices on a small scale, learning about the responsibilities that impact land cultivation.”
The TJC garden is produced by the Green Committee with Button’s leadership; however, the garden is open to any member of the TJC community.
Dr. Manouchehr Khosrowshahi, professor of government, has been part of the garden project for the past few years. He helps plant, water, weed out, trim and decorate the garden.
“The garden is one of the best projects at TJC to benefit everybody. The garden provides a place for experiencing nature, which is proven
to benefit mental health and emotional well-being,” Khosrowshahi said. “Gardening creates a sense of community.”
The garden has a variety of plants such as turnips, green beans, basil, oregano, mint, tomatoes, pepper, sweet potatoes, sage, muscat grapes, kale, pumpkin, cantaloupe and garlic. Khosrowshahi added he expects asparagus “to be productive in about a year.” The garden is also experimenting with ginger and turmeric.
The garden also serves as a source of free produce to the local community.
“They collected and donated over 300 lbs of vegetables during their first crop in the summer of 2017, so since that summer harvest they have not donated any vegetables outside of the community and witnessed more of their own community engage the garden,” Button said.
Khosrowshahi explained what students should know if they want to help with the garden.
“We encourage students to be a part of gardening projects. However, it must be done under the Green Committee’s direction to avoid duplication and waste,” Khosrowshahi said.
The Green Committee meets at 4 p.m. every Thursday in Vaughn Conservatory. Students should contact Button at rbut2@ tjc.edu if they are interested in joining the committee and/or helping maintain the garden