UISG votes to partially fund new UI garden location

UISG allocated $38,374 to cover the labor costs of building a new east side location for UI gardeners.


Courtney Hawkins

Student Gardeners and volunteers help move the greenhouse at the UI Student Garden on Sunday, April 26, 2015.

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

University of Iowa Student Government voted to pass S.S.B 35 allocating $38,374 to cover labor costs to UI gardeners on March 5. This funding covers the labor costs for the construction of the proposed east side location for the garden. The legislation passed unanimously.

The garden is currently located on the west side of campus. Julia Poska, president of UI Gardeners, said accessibility is the main issue with the current location, citing that it requires a 30 minute bus ride to reach the garden from the east side of campus.

“It’s so very inaccessible to people,” Poska said during the legislative session. “The new garden would resolve the accessibility problem. It would make this space friendlier and more accessible to everybody. We would be able to get out there easy and more regularly.”

According to the legislation, the $200,000 project was worked into the UI Campus master plan, but the funding was lost following university budget cuts. The UISG funding would make up for a portion of this lost funding.

RELATED: UI Gardeners group seeks donors in light of budget cuts

The garden provides produce for the UI food pantries and is open to the community as a resource for acquiring produce.

UISG speaker Pro Tempore Jacob Heid emphasized the importance of the garden as a community resource.

“Theoretically, it could impact all students on campus since it will be an open garden,” Heid said. “As of right now, UI gardeners is a great organization that does a lot of programming opening to the public and students. I know a lot of produce that they do grow is for the food pantry and the IMU. Students primarily benefit from that, and the design of this garden is very much a place where people can also go and spend time.”

Senator Jenna Pokorny spoke in support of the legislation.

“I was concerned that this was a lot of money – [UI Gardeners are] a very reputable organization that has worked closely with UISG in the past. I feel like if we give them this money, they’ll use it accordingly and in the best way possible,” Pokorny said.