The UIS Campus Garden is a true community garden. The garden is open to anyone at any time, including members of the public. We all work on planting, weeding, and harvesting the beds together, and anyone is free to harvest produce from any of the beds at any time. We may experiment with renting beds to campus faculty, staff, and students in the future, but for now, we have one big garden for all. We ask that anyone who uses the space respect these guidelines:
- There are no mistakes in the UIS Community Garden. The garden is an educational space. Our goal is to help UIS community members (and members of the public) learn how to grow fresh, healthy produce. We are learning together, and it is absolutely OK to experiment and goof things up. If you accidentally pick a plant instead of a weed, if you prune something too enthusiastically, if a seed doesn’t germinate, that’s OK. Trial and error are an essential part of the learning process. Be kind and patient with yourself and your fellow gardeners.
- We are chemical-free. For safety and environmental reasons, no chemical herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers are used in the garden. We can treat some pest issues using substances on the approved organic list, but we ask that you do not do this yourself. We want kids to be able to pick and eat the produce at any time without worrying about chemicals, and we don’t want to contribute to harmful chemical run-off.
- Harvesting is never stealing. The produce grown in the garden is free for anyone to pick at any time. You can eat the fresh, tasty produce even if you have never been to a garden work day. We are growing it for you; eat it! If something is not quite ready to pick or if we are saving plants for a specific purpose, we will put a sign in the garden bed. If there is no special note and something is ready to harvest, enjoy it.
- Always wind up the hose. We water the garden from an outdoor spigot near the Shepherd house. If you water the garden, always wind up both hoses. This keeps the hoses out of the way of the grounds crew when they mow.
- We compost, and we recycle. We have three compost bins on-site. You can place weeds, and other garden waste materials in these bins. Only deposit fruit and vegetable waste and weeds in these bins. Do not put any meat, bread, or cheese in the compost because these will attract vermin. There are no garbage cans at the garden, please pack out your waste and remember to recycle.
- Respect the garden space. Hand tools will always be available in the garden box. Please put these away when you’re done and don’t remove them from the site. Keep things tidy, and be kind to each other and to the space. Feel free to add decorations, and make the garden a space that you would like to spend more time in. If you observe something concerning, contact the garden coordinator, and we’ll help resolve the issue. We want everyone to feel welcome and safe in the garden. All rules and regulations that apply on other parts of campus apply here too.
- Temporary COVID-19 Regulations: Visitors and volunteers are welcome in the garden, but all must practice appropriate social distancing and follow all guidelines and regulations set forth by the authorities. Masks and social distancing are no longer required in the garden for individuals that are vaccinated against COVID-19. Anyone who is not vaccinated will be expected to follow social distancing guidelines while working in the garden. Please do not visit the garden if you are feeling unwell.