Staff members establish garden at Klehm Hall courtyard

Logan Raschke, Editor-in-Chief

Logan Raschke
Janet Fopay, certification officer and assistant to the dean of the College of Health and Human Services, presents herbs from the Klehm Hall courtyard garden Wednesday afternoon.

The courtyard in the middle of Klehm Hall is now filled with colorful herbs, plants and flowers, courtesy of two staff members from the College of Health and Human Services.

Janet Fopay, certification officer and assistant to the dean, said the idea to grow a garden at the courtyard struck her after passing by it occasionally.

She said she noticed how empty it seemed and thought a few flowers and plants would give the area some life.

In January, Fopay said she decided to submit a proposal to Jeanne Lord, the interim dean of the College of HHS, requesting to establish a garden at the courtyard.

To her surprise, Sara Ferris, the student dean of the College of HHS, also submitted a proposal just a few months earlier, Fopay said. The collaboration of both Fopay and Ferris pushed the creation of the garden forward, and the two of them have been working together to maintain and flourish it ever since, Fopay said.

Everything in the garden was donated, courtesy of Fopay, Ferris, Lord and adviser Rose Meyers-Bradley.

Ferris said cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices (like thyme, oregano, cilantro and mint) and petunia flowers currently fill the garden.

She said she wants to eventually distribute the produce harvested from the courtyard garden to students for free.

Students studying in the Klehm Cafe can use the herbs and spices now, but the process of distributing the rest of the produce on campus is still in the works, Ferris said.

Fopay said she wants to see the garden both literally and figuratively grow into something more.

She would love to witness the garden become a collaborative effort between different departments, organizations and even Colleges on campus in the future, she said.

“In my mind, I envision the School of Technology. They maybe could come up with some kind of watering system, a natural watering system, and maybe the Art Department could create a sculpture to put out there,” Fopay said.

Ferris said she is a farm-to-table advocate, which is why she is eager to distribute the produce and see it used for educational purposes.

Logan Raschke
Sara Ferris, student dean of the College of Health and Human Services, plucks dead petals off a petunia plant at the Klehm Hall Courtyard garden Wednesday afternoon.

Bouncing more collaborative ideas off Fopay, Ferris said the garden could help generate interest for a new course within the College of HHS.

“I would love to see some kind of collaboration between students, staff and faculty working together on a garden, and possibly some applications for a class, like a farm-to-table class for dietetics, or just the Dietetics Club could work on it,” she said.

Ferris and Fopay said the most difficult part of establishing the courtyard garden had to be getting the initial approval, but it was well worth the wait.

Fopay said the garden has received a lot of positive attention from people in Klehm Hall, too.

“Several people in the building have complimented me on the garden and have indicated that they enjoy watching the plants grow,” she said.

Ferris said she agreed; the plants are making great, noticeable strides.

“Every day you come in, something’s different,” she said.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].