The University of Scranton’s Sustainability Office received a Pennsylvania Environmental Council 2017 Partnership Award for its collaboration with area organizations on numerous community projects such as BikeScranton, as well as a food composting program and community garden. The award was presented at the 27th Annual Evening for Northeast Pennsylvania’s Environment, which took place in October at the Woodlands Inn and Resort in Wilkes-Barre.
The University’s community garden involves students, faculty, staff and a group of community partners that plant, maintain and harvest the garden. Through their effort, more than 600 pounds of food was donated to the on-campus Leahy Community Health and Family Center in 2016.
The University first started a community garden on its property in the 300 block of North Irving Avenue in the spring of 2005 with support from a grant from the Scranton Area Foundation and the Tomorrow’s Leaders Today program. The garden was redeveloped and expanded by the University’s Office of Sustainability in 2015 with help from the student led Sustainability Club on campus. Through cooperation with the Lackawanna County Sustainability Office, the Mulberry Bush Flower Shop, Penn State Outreach Master Gardeners and the University’s Leahy Community Health and Family Center, Sustainability Club and gardeners, the community garden has continued to grow. The original garden of approximately 1,000 square feet of planting area was expanded to more than 7,500 square feet by 2017. Currently 15 groups use the garden, and 10 new gardeners have already signed up for 2018.
The Northeast Environmental Partners consist of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, PPL Corporation, Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, and Wilkes University.