First conceived in an Environmental Ethics Class in the Fall of 2006, the Elon Community Garden was founded as a Senior Honors project by Bree Detwiler ’07. Its goal was then, and continues to be: to foster education, community discussion, service, sustainability, and spirituality through the study and practice of local food production.
It functioned as a true community garden, with members taking charge of individual plots, for about two years before changes were needed to sustain the model. Soon, with a yearly student manager guiding, several classes were able to make use of the garden for educational enrichment, providing materials and labor for the garden’s development. In 2010, the Garden Studio class, designed and taught by Michael Strickland of the Environmental Studies Department, was introduced to teach students to effectively design and maintain a home-scale garden and harvest their own food. The course is taught in both the fall and spring semesters, and along with the garden manager, who also helps manage Loy Farm, the students in the class plan, maintain and harvest the garden while continuing its original mission
In 2012, the garden was recognized as a certified wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and remains a popular source of both education and engagement for the student body. The Elon Community Garden is host to two main annual events: The Fall Pumpkin Festival and the Spring Strawberry Festival and Heirloom Plant Sale. Today, students work closely with faculty and staff to maintain the garden year-round as a site of learning, research, demonstration and engagement.