University of Akron Student Petitions for Campus Community Garden


Brooklyn Dennison

UA student Valerie Rado petitions outside the Taber Student Union, offering fresh fruits and lollipops to passersby.

By Brooklyn Dennison, Editor-in-Chief

Inspired by a project in her English composition class, University of Akron student Valerie Rado sought out to start a community garden on campus.


On a sunny Spring morning, Rado, along with several other UA students, handed out goodies such as fresh fruits while promoting the project.


Rado said there is a need for a campus garden because students who live in dormitories or off-campus apartments don’t have a chance to garden or immediate access to fresh produce. She said it is also beneficial because it will encourage community building, healthy eating habits and exercise.


Advocating for a small garden at first, with one herb, one vegetable and strawberries, all Rado needs is volunteers and support from the University administration.


The biggest barriers are organization, leadership and having someone to do the work, Rado said. However, she is willing to put in the time and is obligated to see it through harvest.


Rado’s goal is to get at least 200 petition signatures and 40 volunteers. If successful in creating a student garden, UA won’t be the first to have one in the area.


In 2016, Kent State masters student, Sarah Burns, started the Mighty Pack Program, a project that helps local students in need.


The Mighty Pack Program is slightly different because the campus garden is part of a larger project to fight food insecurity, the Kent State website said. However, both the Kent State garden and proposed UA garden share the same idea of being beneficial to its community.


As of right now, Rado said she is proposing the garden to be located behind Leigh Hall.


If her plan succeeds, Rado would like to give the surplus from the garden to local organizations such as Haven of Rest and the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank.


For questions, you can contact Rado at [email protected] or follow her organization’s Instagram at @learnplantgrowua.