WHITEWATER, Wis. — A campus garden at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is helping to provide fresh produce.

Even during the winter, it still has the community in mind when its focus shifts to the greenhouse.

What You Need To Know

  • The goal of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Campus Garden initiative is to provide fresh produce

  • During the winter, the students who work in the garden focus on plant care in the greenhouse

  • UW-Whitewaters said the Campus Garden was founded as a way to address food insecurities in the community and teach students how to care for plants

  • The Campus Garden initiative was also the recipient of the 2024 Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents Diversity Award

Senior biology major Grace Morey sprayed pesticides on plants in the greenhouse. She is currently the lead garden manager for UW-Whitewater’s Campus Garden initiative.

(Spectrum News 1/Phillip Boudreaux)

“Regularly, I will spray down our plants and also kind of wipe them with a cloth to pull off any pest,” said Morey.

For the past two years, she said she has enjoyed bringing fresh produce to students on campus and the city of Whitewater residents.

Morey said she also values plant care when it is too cold to tend to an outdoor garden.

“It offers a lot of opportunities for students to learn about plants and get hands-on experience working with plants,” said Morey. “A lot of time I work with volunteers who never really had a houseplant before and through this they learn how to care for plants and propagate them and those are skills they can take out into their career.”

On the other side of the greenhouse, Julia Schultz removed dead leaves from one of the plants. Then, she put it in a new pot.

(Spectrum News 1/Phillip Boudreaux)

“When you repot, you can also fertilize at the same time which can give them more nutrients and some just don’t like the pot that they are in,” said Schultz. “It can be either bad for drainage or just keeping them too wet and not allowing them to dry out.”

After the plants were sprayed with pesticides and repotted, Derek Wallis watered them.

Wallis said while they may not be able to provide fresh produce now, there is something to be gained from growing plants.

“We grow a lot of plants to give away at different events which can be sometimes the first time that someone is receiving a plant to take care of and being able to realize the importance of plants helps increase the awareness of how important it is to protect our environment,” said Wallis.

(Spectrum News 1/Phillip Boudreaux)

Wesley Enterline is the sustainability coordinator at UW-Whitewater.

He said the Campus Garden was founded as a way to address food insecurities and teach students how to care for plants.

“It drives them to keep showing up day after day doing all of the hard work — the weeding, the watering, the challenging parts of doing a garden — because they get an opportunity to see that produce go to the food pantry. And we even give them an opportunity to work at the food pantry to interact directly with the clients that are using the produce and get feedback from, but most importantly, just to get a thank you,” said Enterline.

Morey said the program is helping to build the necessary skills to succeed in a future career.

(Spectrum News 1/Phillip Boudreaux)

“Mainly in project and team management, I’ve been given a lot of responsibilities, managing a lot of different projects so learning how to manage all of those and then also manage a team and working with people has really set me up for a lot of different careers,” said Morey.

All three of these students said it’s been very rewarding to help their community now while also preparing for their future.

The Campus Garden initiative was also the recipient of the 2024 Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents Diversity Award