When the decision was made to cancel this year’s annual Sault College Alumni golf tournament due to COVID-19, Sault College Alumni Manager Tyler Epp immediately saw this an opportunity. Springing into action, he worked with long-time golf tournament sponsor Johnson Insurance to build the Sault College Alumni Johnson Insurance Community Garden. Built in the spring, the garden is one of the ways the Alumni department could further support Sault College students by providing fresh produce for the Sault College Students’ Union Student Food Bank.
Through the generosity of Johnson Insurance, Thayer Lumber and Lemieux Composting, ten raised garden beds were built providing over 200 square feet of cultivatable space. Various plants continue to thrive in the garden, including: onions, radishes, beets, peas, kale, green and yellow beans, cucumbers and zucchini all to be harvested and provided to our students in need.
“The Sault College Alumni Johnson Insurance Community Garden is one more example of how the community of Sault Ste. Marie continues to gather together to support our own. When COVID-19 impacted our students’ access to food resources, the Sault College Alumni office and our affinity partners at Johnson Insurance reallocated resources from our annual golf tournament to help fill the need. This community garden will provide much needed fresh produce to the Students’ Union’s food bank, supplementing the non-perishable goods they are receiving from United Way’s Harvest Algoma, who has been a terrific resource in this uncertain time. I would like to thank Johnson Insurance, Thayer Lumber, Lemieux Composting, and various College departments particularly Facilities Management for making this project a reality,” said Tyler Epp, Manager, Alumni and Events.
“When it comes to food bank donations, canned goods and non-perishable items are the staple, but our students need more and fresh food is an essential part of food security. In April and May, we used to receive fresh produce from Harvest Algoma and our students loved it and didn’t even have to visit the grocery stores as they could find most of the items at the food bank. Now that the we are not receiving as many fresh products, the Sault College Community Garden is helping to fill that void and plays a huge role in supporting our food bank and our students by stacking our shelves with fresh products. The SCSU Food Bank is dedicated to keeping Sault College students healthy and well-fed and to ensure that students have access to the basic necessities they require. On behalf of SCSU, I would like to thank Sault College for their continuing support, Harvest Algoma, and Sault College Alumni Department for the generous donation and every one who supported our food bank initiative,” said Ahmad Alkosani, President, Sault College Students’ Union.
The Alumni office hopes to see this garden continue to flourish into the future with the intentions of making it a community resource with spaces designated to Sault College students and alumni. Future expansion may also be possible from donations by local businesses, which can sponsor a new raised planter bed with signage demonstrating their support.
Sault College extends a sincere thank you to the Alumni office for finding innovative ways to positively impact our students during this challenging time!