There is no denying the price of healthy eating can be expensive, but University of Memphis students have access to a garden full of free organic produce right on campus.
Located behind the Elma Roane Field House off Zach Curlin Road lies the Oasis Garden, a part of the Tiger Initiative for Gardens in Urban Settings (TIGUrS).
Founded in 2009 by Karyl Buddington, director of the Animal Care Facility at the U of M, all produce yielded in the garden is free to students and the surrounding University District community.
“The garden shouldn’t belong to one person; the garden should belong to everyone,” Buddington said. “I think the reason the garden has been successful is because we run it as a committee.”
Buddington got the idea for the program after noticing what she felt was the under utilization of flowerbeds throughout the U of M grounds.
“I come from rural Mississippi so I’ve always loved gardens,” she said. “When I got here, I walked all around campus from building to building, and it was just a little bit frustrating for me to see how we would plant flowers in a bed and then we would rip them all out. Then we would put more flowers in, when we could use that space to actually grow food.”
Funding for the garden and the student caretakers’ salaries comes from the Sustainable Campus Green Fees, which are divided among all green initiatives programs at the U of M. The roughly 12-member TIGUrS committee, consisting of students and faculty, meets once a week to discuss upcoming garden events and plantings for the next season.