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Campus Food Garden springs to action

Food insecurity is a real problem for many residents of the Mountain State.

To help combat the issue through garden-based education, the WVU Campus Food Garden invites the community to attend its spring workshops teaching how to grow a home garden in small spaces.

The first workshop, focused on garden planning, will teach best practices for site selection, soils and planting techniques to prepare for warmer temperatures. The event will be at 6 p.m. Monday in Percival Hall, Room 316, on the WVU Evansdale Campus. It does not require prior registration, and attendees will receive a gift to help start their own gardens.

“I feel that learning basic gardening skills is one of the best things you can do for your personal food security,” Nikki Byrne-Hoffman, a biologist and co-founder of the WVU Campus Food Garden, said. “We not only show folks how to grow a garden but also how to prepare the food and preserve it.”

Subsequent workshops, held at the Westover Urban Farm, include a seed-starting session at 2 p.m. March 25, a lesson in composting at 2 p.m. April 15 and a tutorial on successful transplants at 2 p.m. April 29.

Registration for the seed-starting workshop on March 25 is now open. Those interested in the composting and successful transplants workshops can email Byrne-Hoffman at to request a subscription to the garden’s e-newsletter and registration links for upcoming events.

Beginning March 20, the garden will also host weekly community nights each Monday with mini-lessons and hands-on gardening opportunities at the Westover Urban Farm.

“The biggest takeaway from our workshops is that gardening is achievable for almost anyone and doesn’t need to cost much money. I want our participants to experience a variety of gardening types so that they can learn that all they need is some seeds, some water and sunshine,” Byrne-Hoffman said.

Fresh produce grown at the Westover Urban Farm and gardens on the Evansdale campus is donated to local food pantries such as The Rack at WVU, Pantry Plus More and the Community Kitchen in downtown Morgantown.

“It doesn’t matter whether the tasks are big or small; every volunteer who assists us makes a tangible difference in our mission,” Byrne-Hoffman said.

The WVU Campus Food Garden is an intercollegiate and community partnership started in May 2021 by Byrne-Hoffman and Katrina Stewart. Since its construction, the WVU Campus Food Garden has produced more than 7,000 pounds of seasonal fruits and vegetables donated to food pantries in Monongalia County.