Annual Strawberry Festival and Plant Adoption returns to Elon Community Garden 

After a year of cancellations due to pandemic restrictions, members of the Garden Studio class were excited to host the festival once again. 

During a year full of virtual activities, the Elon Community Garden Club and Garden Studio class were excited to offer an in-person event to end spring semester. After being forced to cancel their strawberry and pumpkin festivals last year, the students were eager to welcome guests back into the garden.

A student in the Garden Studio class preparing plants for sale during the Strawberry Festival.

“It’s really a great way to be outside and enjoy nature, especially with finals coming up,” said Autumn Ashe ‘21, the current teaching assistant for the Garden Studio class.

The festival was held on Friday, May 7, from 2 to 5:30 p.m. in the Community Garden, located at 410 E. College Avenue between the Sklut Hillel Center and Powell House. While the pandemic had restricted some normal activities, such as preparing strawberry-themed foods in a nearby kitchen, the festival was still able to offer an enticing treat.

“Elon Dining stepped in and they had us covered,” said Director of the Center for Environmental Studies Michael Strickland, who teaches the class. “They know exactly how to handle these safety measures, and so they helped us by making sure that the festival visitors were able to enjoy some locally made strawberry gelato.”

A student in the Garden Studio class preparing plants for sale during the Strawberry Festival.

In addition to the strawberry festival, the garden also offered a plant adoption. The plants, which included heirloom tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and flowers, were grown in the garden and the Elon greenhouse. All donations from the plant adoption went back into the garden to purchase staples and replacement equipment.

The garden was founded by Bree Detwiler ’07 with the goal of fostering engaged learning about organic gardening, heritage foodways and sustainable practices. The students began offering festivals a few years after the garden had been set up, and since then, they have become a well-loved tradition. In previous years, the festivals have hosted over 400 attendees.

While the guests had to be scaled back this year due to COVID, those in attendance still enjoyed an afternoon full of sunshine, conversation and strawberries.