The Montclair State University Campus Community Garden (MSUCCG) was founded in 2018 as a new community garden at MSU, open to all students, staff, and faculty members. We reclaimed and revitalized underutilized space on the campus, and have established 20 raised garden beds, totaling 1,000 square feet of growing space, that we open up to our community members each year. We work to provide our gardeners with all of the necessary tools and training to have a successful growing season, and grow all of our produce as sustainably as possible. During the season, we provide fresh produce to the Red Hawk Pantry, MSU’s on campus food pantry for students in need. Outside of the growing season, we work with student groups to help increase awareness of student food needs, provide resources and support for addressing food insecurity on campus, and engage in research to monitor food insecurity on campus.
We see the garden as a way to strengthen the connections between members of the Montclair State University community and bring our community closer together, while sustainably providing fresh foods and educational resources to our community members in need.
Our mission is to donate our locally grown produce and work with members of our campus community to increase awareness of our local food systems, our relative level of food security, and foster a culture of sustainability and giving back to the community.
During the Spring 2019 Semester, students were invited to participate in research about food security on campus. A total of 628 students completed the survey. The survey included a modified version of the USDA Adult Food Security Survey, modified to better address an audience of university students; the survey asked questions that are intended to identify food security during the duration of the Spring Semester. The data suggest that more than 4 out of every 10 students who responded to the survey may be Food Insecure during the academic semester, and may not have access to enough food, or have only low quality foods, on a regular basis.
The work performed by the MSUCCG directly benefits students in need at Montclair State University via the Red Hawk Pantry, by providing them with fresh, local produce. We work to provide additional produce to our partner, the Montclair Community Farm, who provides food to older adults living in Montclair that do not have regular access to fresh produce.
To accomplish this, the MSUCCG is proudly partnered with:
- The Red Hawk Pantry at Montclair State
- The Montclair State University chapter of the Food Recovery Network
- The Montclair Community Farms
Use of funds
The MSUCCG will use funds generated to provide resources for our garden, in order to continue to grow and provide produce to our students in need.
This includes recurring expenses for expended items, such as:
- Soil amendments
- Pest deterrents
- Tools for safe food handling, preparation, and distribution
This includes one-time expenses for improvements to the project, such as:
- Improving safe food handling and storage capability
- Improving on-site storage capability
- Improving composting capability
- Improving or repairing site fixtures
- Educational, outreach, or promotional materials
- Record-keeping or research supplies