The Lehman Edible Garden is a campus-wide cooperative project on the Lehman College campus. It has been a community-building workspace, an outdoor classroom, food producing garden, and gathering place, inspiring interest across departmental lines in local food growing, sustainability, and organic gardening practices. The day-to-day care of the garden is mainly in the hands of students and staff of the Adult Learning Center, a free adult literacy program housed on the Lehman campus and members of the Department of Health Sciences. Student clubs like The Lehman Nutrition Club and The Lehman College Health Promoters Club make a point of volunteering and help maintain the flow of ever-expanding community in this beloved and unique entity.
A component of Lehman’s students are attending the adult education center for ESL courses. However, although some of them don’t speak English natively, they have extensive gardening experience they brought with them from their home countries.
Conversely, for many of Lehman’s local students who grew up in the Bronx, the project provides them an opportunity to work in a garden for the first time. While they may speak English natively, their urban-upbringing never offered them many opportunities to practice the art of gardening.
The Lehman gardens offers an ideal place for both groups to come together, get some fresh air, and interact with one another. The ESL students have the chance to practice English with native speakers and the local students have the chance to learn about horticulture from experienced gardeners.
By allowing them all to get their hands dirty — literally — these gardens both spark students’ imaginations and spread awareness about sustainability and the nutritional value of local produce.
We are thrilled to become a participant in the Bronx Hot Pepper Sauce pepper-growing project, broadening our community to include the many other Community Gardens of the Bronx! We’re even expanding for the purpose, braking ground in Spring 2015 for our own Serrano Pepper Patch!