WJU Garden Digs Into Campus Roots

Wheeling Jesuit is digging into university history with a campus garden project.

The Clifford M. Lewis Appalachian Institute at WJU is expanding the garden planted behind Sara Tracy Hall one year ago. Although this particular garden is only in its second year of growth, the school was founded with farming efforts that sustained campus.

“We’re going back to our roots,” said Beth Collins, director of the Appalachian Institute at WJU.

Students and members of the campus community volunteered their time last week to haul and rake soil into new beds. This year the garden will also feature cold weather beds that allow for an extended growing season.

Last year, the garden produced over 800 pounds of fruits and vegetables that were used in WJU’s cafeteria to provide organic produce to students and employees. With more beds now in place, the Appalachian Institute plans to donate additional produce to local soup kitchens and charities.

“We want it to be a system where we can provide local agriculture to our own students but give back to the community,” Collins said, adding there have been more food movements happening across the Ohio Valley.

Planted foods will include cucumbers, zucchini, cabbage, corn, cantaloupe, beans, onions, tomatoes, corn, carrots and broccoli.

Apple and peach trees from last year continue to grow as well. The garden will be maintained throughout the summer by campus volunteers.

Sophomore Shelby Caddies, who assisted with the effort on last week, said the project is for a good cause and she thought it would be fun to contribute.