The Community Gardens at Haverford
Several news outlets have recently published articles describing the College's planned phase-out of the campus community gardens. I'd like to clear up any misunderstandings that may have arisen as a result.
Please allow me to begin by stating that the College is proud to have had the opportunity to provide these gardens for the use of the community and hopes to be able to do so in the future. Here's where we are, where we are going, and how we'll be getting there.
As you know, the College undertook a master planning effort, which was completed in January 2009. This plan dedicated the current site of the community gardens for a future building and parking lot.
Separately, though related, we knew that the plot definitely would not be available for use in 2013 because the space will be needed for the US Open“Tent Village” (not parking, since parking for the US Open will not be located on campus).
So, consistent with the master plan and our commitment to the US Open, the College notified the gardeners that the land would not be available for use after the 2012 growing season.
Many have asked why we want to accommodate the US Open. The answer is simple: the College is part of a larger community and that community – which includes countless locally-owned businesses in and around Haverford Township -- is eager to host this event. Without the use of a portion of the campus grounds, the event simply could not happen. We strive to be good neighbors, and believe that this decision is evidence of that.
As for the longer term plan to phase out the gardens, the College made arrangements for garden plots at another site off campus at no cost. It has and continues to be the College's desire to return the community gardens to the use of the local community in 2014 if the space has not yet been used as a building site or parking lot (as identified in the College master plan). We intend to notify the gardeners in the fall of 2013 whether the space will be available for their use the following year.
Thanks for your concern about this issue. The discussion is an opportunity for all to appreciate the many roles we play in this community. To the extent that we are able, we would welcome the continuation of gardening on our campus.
-Ron Tola, Director of Facilities Management