September 15, 2017

SMU community garden. Perkins school of theology. Volunteers and students. Vegetables and seedlings. Food deserts.

Left to Right: Alec, Phil, Corrie, Lillian, Kunthear, Wendy. Picture taken by Dr. Robert Hunt

With the planned expansion of SMU’s Child Care & Preschool Center, the existing Community Garden had to be relocated. The new location is at 3005 Fondren Drive, in what is affectionately referred to by the community as “Fondren Village”.

Thanks to the donation of pavers by SMU Facilities, raised beds by Big Tex Urban Farms and flowers by Perkins School of Theology, the Hunt Institute was able to facilitate the relocation with the help of student, staff, faculty and community volunteers.

During the workday on Friday, September 15th, various community members walked up to welcome the new space. Without exception, all offered to pitch in and asked how they could help. We already had plans to repurpose old tree stumps for a seating area, but someone mentioned how wonderful it would be to have sunset yoga on the lawn during the fall semester. Other community members recommended outdoor solar lighting in each of the raised beds.

Alec Maulding ’19 from EWB SMU Chapter, a Mechanical Engineer major, helping to plant the fall crops.

SMU Chapter’s Engineers Without Boards (EWB) had several volunteers show up to help set up. Deborah Oyedapo ’18, the current leader of the Plant Lab group in EWB and a biology major, welcomed the opportunity for her group to use the community garden for their various experiments and prototypes. They plan to submit a proposal for modifications to the traditional design of a raised bed. Their hopes are that the design will be an improvement that will help the volunteers and teachers that typically run community gardens. “Watering is always an issue,” says Dr. Lynch from Meadows School of the Arts. “If we could design a self-watering adaptation to the current beds, that would be an improvement.” Dr. Lynch runs Get Healthy Dallas, a program aimed at addressing food deserts and obesity issues in lower income communities.

The Gather at the SMU Community Garden with Kunthear watering the plants.

Kunthear Mam-Douglas is the primary gardener and coordinator for the maintenance of the garden. Known for her creative and award-winning hats, she brings that passion for nature and craftsmanship into the care of the garden. Kunthear manages a sign-up list for watering, weeding and planting. She also coordinates a neighborhood composting group for the garden. If you would like to participate, please email Kunthear at kunthearm@sbcglobal.net.