Victory Gardens Help Students Connect During a Time of Social Distancing

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With the help of generous donations from alumni and seed companies, Delaware Valley University shipped packages of seeds to 600 of its students. The students who receive seeds will be growing victory gardens at home and sharing updates with their peers on social media. The project is one of the University's many efforts to help students stay connected to the University's community during a time of social distancing. 

Burpee, Hart Seed, EarthWorks Seed, Rohrer Seeds, and two DelVal alumni Christine Esterline Griesemer ’12 and Jim Griesemer ’12 donated the seeds that were mailed to DelVal's students. 

"We're grateful for the seed donors who stepped in to help us with this project," said Dr. Broc Sandelin, dean of The School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. "We sent out a survey to students to ask if they would like to receive seeds and to find out what kind of seeds they would be interested in receiving. The response was very positive, with 600 of our students from a wide range of majors wanting to participate. These home gardens will allow students to get outside and take pride in growing healthy food. Growing plants and sharing updates online is also a great opportunity to connect with classmates and faculty remotely."

The University is encouraging students to share photos of their gardens and updates about their plants on social media. 

The students will be growing cucumbers, dry beans, flowers, green beans, herbs, hot peppers, lettuce, melons, other leafy greens, peas, pumpkins, radishes, summer squash, sweet corn, sweet peppers, tomatoes, winter squash, and zucchini through the DelVal Victory Gardens. 

Nationally, there has been a renewed interest in home gardening, particularly growing food at home. The University's project was inspired by the victory gardens that people grew in the U.S. during World War II. The DelVal Victory Gardens will function in a different way than the World War II victory gardens. While they will provide food, the main benefits of these modern victory gardens will be opportunities for social connection, time in nature, and a chance for students to give back to others. 

"I think these gardens are a fantastic way to bring joy to folks during this difficult time," said Alana Miller '22, a DelVal student who volunteered to help with the project. "It was heartwarming to read that many students intended to support their local churches, food pantries, and neighbors with their gardens."

Follow Along on Social Media:
Students from Delaware Valley University are being encouraged to post updates on their home gardens with #DelValVictoryGarden, #DelValGrows, #DelValCooks, and #DelValEats on social media. Follow DelVal on InstagramFacebook and Twitter to see the updates on the student gardens.