Community garden project teaches sustainability and life lessons

We’ve all heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But when a mini-grant provided by the Sisters of Mercy, a community garden, and a summer of hard work gave students in the Students in Human Resource Management Club (SIHRM) tomatoes … and hot peppers, onions and a wide variety of herbs, they made salsa!

“Seeing the fruits of our labor was an accomplishing feeling,” said Sydney Wallenfelsz, Vice President of SIHRM. “We were thrilled to be able to share two batches of homemade, homegrown salsa with a story behind them – one for the SIHRM table at the Clubs and Organizations Fair and one for the Sisters of Mercy.”

During the Mount Mercy University Clubs and Organizations Fair at the start of the academic year, students from SIHRM displayed pictures from the garden project, which was primarily funded by a sustainability grant provided by the Sisters of Mercy, West Midwest Community. Beyond the tasty produce it produced, the community garden project also introduced the SIHRM students to all the connections between diet and how a person feels and performs on a day-to-day basis – valuable insight for those aspiring to become human resource leaders.

“This project was powerful because we learned about the importance of how and where our food is produced,” commented Wallenfelsz.

By exploring many of the associated benefits for eating healthy, such as reduced healthcare costs and increased employee productivity and well-being, the students were able to turn a fun project into one that will serve them well in the future. It also sparked a love for gardening that many of the students didn’t even know they had.

“Our community garden inspired each of us (in the SIHRM Club) to produce vegetables in a garden of our own and reflect on the difference that one garden can make,” shared Sydney.

The SIHRM students hope the lessons they learned this year can be built upon in the future. The students kept track of their progress throughout the project and invited the Mount Mercy community to follow along and share any tips and information about their gardening experiences. You can read about their full experience and all the different types of produce they grew by reading the SIHRM Community Garden blog.