MEDIA, Pa. — The Penn State Brandywine campus garden’s expansion project, which began in January, was marked as officially completed with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 14. The garden space expanded from 2,500 square feet to 3,600 square feet, which added more space for different crops to grow.
The garden enhancements were funded with a grant from the Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony featured a catered lunch, pepper taste-testing, live music from the Brandywine Music Association, giveaways and the opportunity to harvest vegetables and herbs from the garden.
Christine Brown, interim Rosenberg Director of the Center for Social Impact, said the garden brought the Brandywine community together.
“The ribbon-cutting ceremony, and even the garden as a whole, was able to create a community at Brandywine and in Delaware County,” Brown said. “It was a great opportunity to bring everyone together, from faculty, staff and students to Penn State Extension’s Delaware County Master Gardeners and other members of the community.”
“It was a great opportunity to bring everyone together, from faculty, staff and students to Penn State Extension’s Delaware County Master Gardeners and other members of the community.”
—Christine Brown , interim Rosenberg Director, Center for Social Impact
Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells envisioned the garden expansion and helped get the funding to make it come to life. She noted in her ceremonial speech how important gardens are and how excited she is about the garden’s completion.
“Gardens have been such a part of my life throughout the years," she said. "My grandparents and parents all gardened while I was growing up. Gardens really bring the intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of people together. This space is the heart, mind and soul of our campus, and I couldn’t be prouder and more excited to be here and to honor my relatives who came before me.”
The campus garden is a space at Brandywine between the Vairo Library and Orchard Hall where students, faculty and staff can connect with nature, whether it’s through learning about how plants grow, picking vegetables or using it as a spot for peacefulness and relaxation.
The Center for Social Impact has garden interns who worked over the summer to nurture the space and aid in the expansion. One garden intern, Ndella Jagne, a fourth-year student, noted how the memories she created at the garden and Center for Social Impact will stay with her for a lifetime.
“I love the community that surrounds the garden and the Center for Social Impact," she said. "The amount of knowledge I’ve gained from the garden will forever be one of my core memories. I love being in the garden and seeing people’s faces when they harvest their favorite vegetables and herbs. Being here is something that I will hold with me for a lifetime.”
Another garden intern, Alex Hart, a second-year student, commented on how the garden has become a happy place for him over the past few months.
“Every day I come into work at the garden, it doesn’t feel like a job. I have so much fun,” he said. “Being in the garden over the past few months has allowed me to grow into the person I’m becoming, expanded my gardening knowledge and gave me a new-found happiness.”
“I want to thank Penn State Brandywine’s students for what they do for the community and Penn State as a whole.”
—David Rosenberg , member, Brandywine Advisory Board
David Rosenberg, a member of the Brandywine Advisory Board who has greatly helped the Center for Social Impact, applauded Brandywine students for continuing to make a difference with the garden.
“The more I can be of assistance and provide counsel to the students here at Brandywine, the more inspiration I feel," he said. "These students are our future. I want to thank Penn State Brandywine’s students for what they do for the community and Penn State as a whole.”
Everyone in the community can volunteer at the garden. Most notably, the Delaware County Master Gardeners volunteer often in the garden and have greatly helped the expansion. Two master gardeners, Joe and Joanne Patti, pick flowers from the garden often to give to ill residents at Granite Farms Estates, a 55-and-over community in Media.
Although the Center for Social Impact hosts garden-harvest volunteer days on Wednesdays, people can visit the garden any day of the week, whether they want to pick their favorite vegetables or aid in planting seeds.