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Barry University Launches Urban Garden

By Glenn Bowen, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Community Services Initiatives, Barry University
Photos by Daniel Bock, Courtesy of the Center for Community Services Initiatives, Barry University

January 29, 2019, Miami Shores, Florida – On Barry University’s Miami Shores campus, an urban garden has come to fruition. It is an initiative to provide produce for neighborhoods where residents experience food insecurity.

Members of the Barry University community attend the launch of the Barry Urban Garden.

University administrators, faculty and staff members, students, and community partners gathered outside Powers Hall recently for a brief ceremony during which the Barry Urban Garden, aka the BUG, was formally launched.

“I am very happy to see BUG come to fruition,” Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, JD, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, wrote in a note to Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD, President of Barry University. Sister Pat noted that the initiative would “tie together both the experiential learning and the scientific research required for healthy plants/healthy soils/healthy food, healthy people.”

The BUG concept is rooted in permaculture design principles. Dr. Gerene (Gerry) Starratt, Professor of Education and an Adrian Dominican Associate, explained that permaculture is both a philosophy and a strategy, branded as “Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share.” 

Barry Urban Garden student leaders are, from left, Gabriel Bouani, Barry Service Corps Fellow; Jaedyn Amaro, President of the Barry Green Team; and Paola Lopez-Hernandez, Barry Service Corps Fellow.

Speaking at the event, Gerene also shared information on the annual Environmental Leadership Experience. The two-week spring program for Barry University and Siena Heights University students takes place on the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse campus. Ten Barry students participated in 2017, when the program was initiated, and eight last year.

Dr. Jill Farrell, Dean of Barry’s Adrian Dominican School of Education, said the BUG would support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) learning and would contribute to “the lived curriculum.” Courtney Berrien, Associate Director of the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI), cut a red ribbon, officially launching the BUG. At the start of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, University Chaplain Father Cristóbal Torres, OP, offered a blessing. Roger Horne, Director of Community Health Initiatives at Urban GreenWorks, and Alena Costume, Coordinator of Health Promotion and Wellness at Barry, outlined the intended outcomes of the “values-based community agriculture initiative.”

Members of the BUG Advisory Committee turned over the soil in a garden plot. 

Dr. John Murray, Provost, and Dr. Christopher “Kit” Starratt, Vice Provost and an Adrian Dominican Associate, were in attendance.

Asha Starks, the BUG coordinator, thanked Facilities Management and Urban GreenWorks, a Barry community partner, for helping to lay the groundwork for the BUG. She also thanked service-learning faculty and students for the work they have already done.

Courtney Berrien, Associate Director of the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI), cut a red ribbon, officially launching the BUG.


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