Through a community garden, students, faculty and community members are demonstrating in a tangible way that not only does George Fox care about sustainable practices, it teaches, implements and enjoys them. The gardeners celebrated their third year with a feast in October.
The concept for a community garden formed out of a seminar taught by Corey Beals, associate professor of philosophy and religion, that focused on the philosophy of author Wendell Berry. From the course material, students developed interest in locally sustainable food sources and decided to learn to learn to grow food organically. They first grew vegetables from seeds in their campus apartments, then scouted for a garden space, where they tilled, planted and harvested the produce.
“Wendell Berry suggests that there are no large solutions for the very large problems we have,” Beals said. “The only way to solve the large problems is with small solutions. This includes learning how to grow our own food organically and locally, decreasing our dependence on food that is transported thousands of miles.”
Planning and working the garden with students and fellow members of the George Fox and Newberg Community is as educational as his classroom – if not more so, Beals said. Students spend hours together making sure their philosophy is literally “grounded.”
“We are working through problems, learning how what we do to the soil affects the rest of the economy and our relation to others and our relation to God,” he said. “This is one of the most holistically, integrative educational possibilities I’ve yet been a part of.”
The community garden is not only educational, practically involved in acting responsibly for the care of our world, but also a small testimony to the world of how George Fox community members are sustainably caring for the world God has put in our care, he said.