Office of Public Affairs

(315) 312-2265

CONTACT:  Richard Horan, 312-4903

July 15, 2003


COMMUNITY GARDEN TAKING ROOT AT FALLBROOK
 
   OSWEGO -- Seeded by a vision, a team effort and a grant, a community garden has taken root at the Fallbrook Recreation Center on the SUNY Oswego campus.

    The project was the brainchild of Richard Horan, who joined the college in 2002 as a writing specialist for the Office of Learning Services. While he was attending graduate school, Horan said his wife "was missing the fact that we couldn't garden in Pittsburgh" until they discovered and participated in a community garden there. When he came to Oswego, he saw a need here.

    He found that the concept had been discussed before but never enacted. He applied for, and received, a $500 grant through Rice Creek Associates, and biology Professor Peter Rosenbaum was one of many people affiliated with Rice Creek who offered encouragement.

    SUNY Oswego administrators and community groups also backed the project. "A lot of people thought it was a good idea, and it apparently came around at the right time," Horan said.

    A local farmer, Greg Cooper, provided major labor support by preparing and tilling ground provided by Auxiliary Services on the other side of Thompson Road from the Fallbrook barn.

    While the effort converged in June, fairly late in the planting season, crops that include heritage corn, tobacco and squash are growing already.
 
  "A lot of people will wait until next year" to plant, Horan said. "We really expect the project to begin in earnest next year."

    One key part of the project is to make the whole community welcome to plant, since not everyone has space for a garden. People who want to use the garden are "not going to need a lot of money to get started," Horan stressed. "The hardest part has been done."

    Another thrust is to work with senior groups like the Retired Senior Volunteer Program or those serving the disabled, like ARISE and Oswego Industries, who all voiced early support for the project. Horan said there is always a need for outdoor activities for the disabled "and something like this would be wonderful for that population."

    The addition of fencing and a storage shed for tools are on the wish list for the community garden if more donations can be secured. Those seeking more information on the garden or interested in donating to help enhance the project may contact Horan at 312-4903 or in Room 202B of Swetman Hall at SUNY Oswego.

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