The Organic Community Garden on the University of Central Florida’s main campus today received tender loving care from volunteers.

The root beer plant, a pecan tree, citronella grass and much more were planted during the community gardening event.

Volunteers toiled in the company of UCF experts who provided advice on how to create and maintain an organic garden. The morning was filled with expert-led, hands-on activities to improve the garden, including planting, mulching and weeding.

“This was a great opportunity for anyone interested in organic gardening to learn from university experts, while contributing to a great community project,” said event coordinator Tina Richards.

UCF Dining Services, an event co-sponsor, provided pizza for the hungry helpers.

The half-acre UCF Organic Community Garden contains a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs. The garden features plants native to Florida, as well as other plants that can withstand the Florida climate. Among the many vegetables and fruits are okra, eggplant, sugarcane, Florida elderberry and Florida blueberry. The garden is home to medicinal and culinary herbs, including calendula, yarrow, lemon grass, basil and fennel.

The produce is shared among the students and community members who regularly volunteer their time in the garden.

The garden is located near the Arboretum office, behind the Harris Corporation Engineering Center and College of Optics and Photonics buildings.

The term “organic” means that no chemical or synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides are used. Instead, the garden is nourished with organic fertilizers made from decomposed organic matter. All seeds and transplanted plants are organic, obtained from local distributors and nurseries.

The UCF Organic Community Garden was launched in 2009 by the Student Sustainability Alliance and the Arboretum. Since the garden’s opening, hundreds of students and community members have volunteered thousands of hours to maintain the garden.

UCF Community Garden Work Day was sponsored by the UCF Arboretum, UCF Dining Services, Volunteer UCF and The Simple Living Institute, Inc.

To be added to the UCF Arboretum’s volunteer database for future events, e-mail [email protected]

The mission of the UCF Arboretum is to provide UCF students, faculty and staff and the Central Florida community a comprehensive environmental and outdoor living laboratory for education, research, recreation and human interaction with ecosystem functions. The mission of the Student Sustainability Alliance is to unify the student body in an effort to create a more sustainable community and provide a forum for communication from the students to the staff and faculty.

— UCF —

For more information, visit the UCF Arboretum Web site.

UCF Stands for Opportunity: The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 3rd largest in the nation with more than 53,500 students. UCF’s first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region’s economic development. UCF’s culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information, visit http://news.ucf.edu.