Drake University is trying to grow the ways they can become an ecologically viable campus. Literally.
Kelly Leatherman, a member of (DEAL) the Drake Environmental Action League explains how The Sprout Community Garden is Drake’s way of taking an environmental initiative, while also, bridging the gap between the university and the surrounding neighborhood.
“It’s a great way to really engage with the community, which is something I know Drake is continually striving to be better at,” Kelly Leatherman, member of the Drake Environmental Action League said.
What started as a senior capstone project has turned into a way they are helping both students and the community around them, a community that is considered a “food desert”.
“Drake and the Drake neighborhood is technically a food desert, which means that a certain amount of people in the immediate area are below a certain income level and there aren’t grocery stores with immediate availability,” Megan Lindmark, the Sprout coordinator said.
With the Drake community being labeled a “food desert”, many families rely on the fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs produced in the garden. And, being able to provide these things for others shows the positive impact this initiative has had.
“You can kind of take a human perspective on the environment in that we are all very reliant on the world around us and that can be really seen when you are providing people with fresh produce,” Lindmark said.
Leatherman applauds Drake for the small steps they’re beginning to take on campus, but also believes they still have a ways to go.
“I think where Drake can grow is figuring out ways to have more big scale systemic changes. Something I think Drake needs to think about is balancing economic concerns with environmental concerns,” Leatherman said. “It’s something that I think overall, over time they’ll get more ecologically aware.”
By Summer Brills