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On Monday, April 22, at noon, the Delta community is invited to gather at the Delta State University Wiley Community Garden for the garden’s ribbon cutting and Earth Day Celebration. The property on Fifth Ave., where the garden is located, was donated by the Wiley family in memory of Roy Wiley, a Delta State Professor Emeritus.
Julie Wiley Mosow, the daughter of the late Professor Wiley, will cut the ribbon with her daughter, Emily.
“The Delta State garden is an example of how innovative leadership and building partnerships in the Delta can move us forward,” said Delta Health Alliance Project Manager Ryan Betz. Delta State’s new garden is dedicated to educating the Delta State and Cleveland communities on the cultivation of fresh, healthy, local foods and food systems; the preserving campus green space through beautiful, edible landscapes; and fostering collaboration among Delta State and the wider Cleveland community. The vision for the DSU Wiley Community Garden is to inspire and support sustainable, equitable community driven food systems at Delta State, in Cleveland, and across the Delta that strengthen the local economy and promote healthy lifestyles. The values the garden promotes are: growth and learning, diversity, mutual respect, sustainability and acting in an environmentally and socially just way, integrity, self-reliance, fostering community, entrepreneurship, and excellence.
The Garden Committee consists of Delta State faculty, staff, and the Delta Health Alliance. The members are: Rob Turner, Cecil Barnett, and Ted Hochradel with Delta State Facilities Management; Michaela Merryday, Mollie Rushing, Cetin “Chet” Oguz, with the Art Department; Dr. Ellen Green and Lacey Fitts with the Division of Biological and Physical Sciences; and Ryan Betz. The committee members have taken the lead in planning, developing, and planting the garden. The Delta Health Alliance Garden Project has provided facilitation, technical assistance, and $1,400 in funds for untreated cypress lumber, seeding, and plant materials. During spring break, Facilities Management broke ground at the garden. Garden committee members used the Delta State greenhouse to start seeds for the garden in February, and two weeks after spring break the transplants were moved to the garden.
The garden allows Delta State education majors to gain valuable teaching experiences and create curricula with a hands-on gardening technique. The Delta Fresh Foods Delta Farm to School Project plans to work with the science education department and use the garden as a professional development tool for Delta State education students and teachers across the area. The Art Department plans to grow dye plants, which the students will use for dyeing fibers and fabrics. Students will also assist with public art installations at the garden as well.
Garden support has poured in from across the Delta State and Cleveland communities. Delta State students Kayla Selby and Matt Morse volunteered their time and talents for designing the garden logo and sign, and providing graphic design services for the day of the ribbon cutting. Irrigation materials were donated by Ace Hardware of Cleveland, Fleming Lumber contributed trellis materials, concrete for the shed foundation was donated by MMC Materials, and D. Carroll Construction donated the construction off the concrete slab and delivered the shed with the help of Delta State’s Facilities Management.
Also, the Cleveland Farmer’s Market, through a past USDA Farmers Market Promotion grant it received in partnership with Delta State, is donating a storage shed, along with tools and supplies to combine its Market Garden Project with the Delta State University Wiley Community Garden. Garden produce will be sold at the farmers market, and proceeds will support garden purchases for the future growing seasons. Volunteers lending a significant amount of work hours at the garden will also be able to access the garden produce.
For Monday’s ribbon cutting and Earth Day Celebration, Dr. Barry Campbell, Chair of the Division of Biological and Physical Sciences will introduce the ceremony, and special remarks will be made by Delta State President William N. LaForge, SGA President Allana Ferguson, Delta State Foundation Director Keith Fulcher, and Delta Health Alliance Project Manager Ryan Betz. Ryan Betz and Cecil Barnett will then give a garden tour.
For more information and to keep up to date on garden activities and events visit the garden’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/DSUWileyCommunityGarden<http://www.facebook.com/DSUWileyCommunityGarden> People can also RSVP to help with the garden on this page.