My favorite spot at SCU isn’t even on campus. It’s the Forge Garden, located across the street from Lucas Hall. The Forge is an organic half-acre garden and a place to learn about sustainable food systems.
I first discovered The Forge during my freshman year Critical Thinking & Writing class. We had to do a Community Outreach assignment, so I signed up to spend a couple of afternoons at the garden.
As my first day of volunteering approached, I dreaded the idea of spending an afternoon outside in the sun doing manual labor, after already having two classes that day. I didn’t even know The Forge existed until it was mentioned in class. I didn’t even know how to garden. I disliked bees. So what was I doing in a place filled with pollinators and dirt?! What had I gotten myself into?
I ended up clipping some small branches to put into the wheelbarrow, which was to be disposed in the “hot compost” pile—named for the microorganisms, not because it’s directly in the path of the sun. I also got the chance to meet some friendly chickens and admire the beautiful flowers.
I came back another day to do some harvesting before the weekly farm stand. I started off by picking the very last of the green beans, as well as green and purple okra. The more I returned, the more I felt comfortable in my new stomping ground. And the ground is exactly what I dealt with—whether it was overturning soil, working with compost, planting, or harvesting crops.
The Forge offers drop-in volunteer hours every Wednesday from 12-4 PM and Friday 9-11 AM. There’s also a donation-based farm stand from 11:30 AM-1:30 PM on Fridays that encourages community members to eat fresh and buy local. Finally, there’s the 3–4:30 PM Forge Friday event series, which hosts workshops on everything from meditation and music to herbs and worms.
The Forge has given me a way to give back to my community, practice sustainability and find fulfillment within myself. And there are plenty of options for other collegiettes™ to get involved!