Student-Led Project Offers Lessons,
Inspiration on Campus and Beyond
MELBOURNE, FLA. — Opening its gates for the first time in February 2017, Florida Institute of Technology’s Ethos Community Garden has become a source of pride for students seeking to cultivate campus sustainability and get hands-on experience with the increasingly popular practice of urban agriculture.
Located in the Residence Quad, Ethos was conceived of by a small group of students on the Residence Life Sustainability Committee looking to make a big difference at Florida Tech.
“It’s nice to feel like I’m a student and I don’t just do homework – I make a difference,” said Alexis Miller said, one of the garden’s founding students and a member of the Community Garden Club which maintains the garden.
The garden currently hosts a variety of herbs and vegetables across 30 different beds of various sizes, as well as a rainwater collection system built around its center pergola, and a composting bin.
Food that has been grown and harvested within the garden has included tomatoes, mint, rosemary, basil, sweet potatoes and strawberries. The harvest is given to Florida Tech’s Panther Dining Hall, used for Residence Life events, donated to local nonprofits, or used by the Community Garden Club.
Numerous donors have helped make the garden possible, including local businesses and individuals.
Michael Slotkin, a professor of economics at Florida Tech’s Nathan Bisk College of Business and the garden’s first donor said, “Professors are uniquely blessed in their ability to inspire change through the work they create and the lives they touch. Watching our students take the initiative in establishing green footprints on our campus and our world is a legacy we can all cherish.”
Donors receive a customized plaque that is placed on the side of a garden bed for a year and are recognized on the garden’s Facebook page and website.
Ethos inspired the community at large, not just on campus.
Sister gardens in Satellite Beach (Logos) and Cocoa Beach (Pathos) came about through student outreach and share similar designs to Ethos. Together, garden participants across all sites are attempting to develop a countywide network, known as the Community Garden Network of Brevard, to help inspire, promote, and build future community gardens.
For more on the Ethos Community Garden and ways to support it, please click here.