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MCV Green Affairs focuses on making MCV campus at VCU and the Richmond community greener through service and education. This student-led organization welcome students, faculty, and staff, from all schools and disciplines, both medical and academic from either campus, as well as Richmond community members to help us pursue our goals of educational outreach, increased recycling access, improved sustainable practices and policies at VCU, and community outreach. Email Green Affairs to share your ideas or to get involved.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Big News for VCU Community Garden

Hi all,

I want to first apologize for not getting back to many of you sooner. There have been some major developments and many changes going back and forth for the VCU Community Garden over the past week and a half. We wanted to wait until we had a solid answer from VCU before we got back to you, and this took longer than anticipated. Thanks for all of your patience waiting to hear back from us, and we're sorry if we caused you any worry or stress in the meantime.

First the good news - The 1st ever VCU Community Garden project is still going ahead. The garden plan has been modified to be bigger and better than ever before, and will include our original plans for a pollinator garden and teaching/social area, as well as the hugelkultur and sub-irrigated (self-watering) beds, and wheel chair accessible beds and standard garden beds. We have been approved for $3000 from the MCV Campus SGA, and are waiting to hear back about $3000 in funding from MPC SGA. VCU Facilities Management have all been wonderfully supportive, and have not only increased our budget, but have agreed to fund the remainder not covered by the SGAs. New additions to the plan include our very own garden shed, as well as a rain barrel system to collect rain water for our plants. Four new watering stations are also going to be installed throughout the garden, to make watering your plots even easier than before. Facilities management is going to pay extra for cypress wood instead of pine, which is naturally insect-resistant and will last 20 years. Our teaching/social area will be much grander, with seating installed for 25-30 people and a teaching table. The garden will be open to the public and people will be able to eat their lunch in the beautiful garden when an event is not in session.

Now for the not so good news - We were all set to break ground this upcoming weekend, which was already pushing it as far as the timing of the Spring planting season goes. Last week our garden plans were basically completely re-drawn, without our foreknowledge, and changed to such an extent that made proceeding with the project on the current timeline as planned impossible. We regret to inform you all that the Spring Semester planting season has been cancelled. We are deeply sorry that this has happened, due to circumstances that were beyond our control. We met with the VCU landscape architect today, have gone over some changes with him, and expect the new plans back by next week, which we will post on the website and Facebook page. The revised timeline for breaking ground is during Spring Break. We want you to know that we thought carefully about how to proceed, and that we were forced to to cancel Spring Semester planting because there wouldn't have been enough time to grow crops, before people leaving after the Spring Semester would need to clean up their beds in time for the Summer season.

Current plot owners have a number of options on how they can proceed:
  1. If you have already paid for a plot for a year and still wish to keep your plot, no action is required. We will notify you as soon as your garden plot is ready, and will allow you to plant early, before the Summer Semester starts. Your yearly membership fee will be applied starting in the Summer Semester, which means if you wish to keep your plot a second year, you will not need to pay again until Summer 2013 (not Spring 2013).

  2. If you have already paid for a plot for the Spring Semester, and wish to transfer your membership to the Summer Semester, please reply to this email. Note: if you are going on vacation for a few weeks in the Summer, but would still like to garden, let us know your planned vacation date(s) and we can have our garden volunteers look after you plot for you, donating food harvested while you are gone to a local food bank. Vacationers must let us know at least 2 weeks ahead of time, otherwise you risk forfeiting your plot deposit and/or losing your plot due to lack of plot maintenance. You will be notified as soon as your plot is ready and will be able to start gardening early, before the Summer Semester officially commences.

  3. If you are on this email list, have been offered a plot, but have not paid for your plot, but still wish to garden in the Summer: we apologize for the confusion some people have experience with plot payments. We are still sorting out the system this first time around. We have extended the payment and waiver deadline until Thursday, March 8th, 5pm, to make sure everyone has a chance to pay. Payments may be made as checks, made to "Green Unity care of Rachel Elves", or cash. Please put your payment and signed waiver in an envelope marked "VCU Community Garden, Attention: Rachel Elves". You can drop off your payment at:

    Monroe Park Campus, Student Orgs Office in the Student Commons in the Green Unity mailbox (907 Floyd Ave.)ORMCV Campus, MCV-C SGA Office, 3rd floor Hunton Student Center (1110 E Broad St). Special note: MCV-C SGA does not have set office hours, please slide your payment envelope under the door and we will pick it up.

    You will receive a payment confirmation email within 2-4 business days after we receive your payment.

  4. If the change in plans for the VCU Community Garden have caused you to be unable to participate any longer, we will issue you a full refund, in the form that payment was received. Please notify us ASAP if you choose to pursue this option, and we will contact you with details/options on how you can pick up your refund.
Individuals included in this email who were originally offered plots for the Spring Semester will receive first priority for obtaining a plot for the Summer Semester and/or year. If payments from these individuals are not received by March 8th, 5pm, any remaining open plots will be re-offered to the VCU community at large. Please contact us ASAP if there are extenuating circumstances that prevent you from paying by the due date.

We will be updating the website and the Facebook page soon with the updated information, as well as an FAQ section. One question worth answering now: all plot owners will be provided with one pair of complementary gloves to keep, and will have access to shared garden tools, water, watering cans, a wheel barrow, basically everything you need to garden. All you'll need to bring to garden is sturdy, closed-toed shoes, and for hot days, a water bottle, sunscreen, and sunhat if you have them.

Thanks again for your overwhelming response and enthusiasm, and for your patience while we sort of the last details of the garden planning revisions.


Rachel Elves & the rest of the VCU Community Garden Planning Team

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