Food for Thought, Soul, and Campus: Georgia Tech’s Community Garden

At the heart of Georgia Tech’s campus, a student-run garden provides community and fresh food.

An aerial shot of the community garden. The garden has multiple planting stations, both in rows and U-shapes. Also visible are multiple picnic tables and the pergola.

Since 2012, the community garden on Georgia Tech’s campus has offered a green space for students to get their hands dirty, learn more about self-sustenance, and take a break from the bustle of campus life to get some me time.  

“Being a large technical school, there are a ton of experiences you can’t get anywhere else that will feed your career,” said Eli Winterscheidt, community garden director and fourth-year materials science engineering major. “Things like the garden exist to feed you as a human being. Students come here and can get their hands in the dirt; they get to experience what it’s like to have fun and get outside.” 

At the beginning of last year, the space allocated to the community garden tripled in size, adding additional beds, a pergola with picnic tables, and the ability for the garden to become ADA accessible.  

Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS), the largest sustainability-focused student organization on campus, manages the garden and solicited input from the student body to inform the expansion’s design.  

Since then, Winterscheidt has enjoyed the learning curve of managing more space and opportunities for students to get involved. Every other Saturday, SOS hosts community garden workdays, which see anywhere from two to 80 participants, depending on the weather and time of year. 

On those days, students and others who are interested in working in the garden get the opportunity to connect and complete different tasks for the benefit of the crops grown in the garden. Some of the produce is given to Klemis Kitchen, an on-campus food bank for students in need, upon harvest. 

The garden grows a variety of produce: radishes, herbs, and figs from a fig tree grown from a cutting of Jimmy Carter’s own fig tree, to name just a few. 

As Winterscheidt prepares to graduate in May, he advises future Georgia Tech students to prioritize self-care in college. 

“Take time for yourself,” he said. “You’re a human being first, and then you’re a student, and then you can get involved on campus. Taking those priorities and getting them straight, and really understanding what it means to feed yourself before you feed your career.” 

To get involved with the community garden, connect with SOS on their Instagram or website, or go to a community garden day.