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Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 2:26 pm, Tue Aug 30, 2011.

LMU’s campus will soon be home to a brand new community garden.

The L.I.O.N.S. (LMU Inspiration Organic, Native and Sustainability) Gardeners was started in October of 2010 by Briana Bergstrom, a senior environmental science major.

“The purpose of the club is to bring people together to learn about gardening, organic food production, composting and the benefits gardens can offer communities such as LMU,” said Bergstrom.

The gardeners’ focus on building and nurturing gardens will be part of an on-campus project. The L.I.O.N.S. Gardeners will be breaking ground for LMU’s first community garden, located behind the greenhouse between Sullivan and Pereira.

They will be hosting a series of workdays beginning today, and the actual groundbreaking ceremony will be from noon to 3 p.m. today. The event is sponsored by the Human Rights Coalition, Gardeners and Eco Students.

Bergstrom worked with senior urban studies major April Sandifer ,as well as many other LMU students to organize the planting of the garden and its approval as one of the many events and acts of service for University President David W. Burcham’s Inauguration Service Week.

During this week, Burcham, faculty, staff, students and friends have been participating in various service in honor of LMU’s presidential inauguration, and the groundbreaking of the community garden will be a featured event.

The actual groundbreaking will be done by volunteers who will prepare the soil for the garden, tear out any existing plants and aerate the soil for the new plants the garden will contain.

The garden will be planted in sections. First will be the pollinator garden; today, they will also be planting native flowering plants to attract birds and bees. The finished garden will include a native plant garden, a rain garden, a dwarf citrus orchard and a vegetable garden which will be run by an “Adopt a Plot” system.

The purpose of the garden is to promote environmental justice and utilize bio-intensive gardening methods. “We are hoping to educate the LMU community about organic food production, the native ecosystem and campus sustainability while helping the greater community by donating the fruits and vegetables of our labor to local food banks,” said Bergstrom.

The L.I.O.N.S. Gardeners will oversee the management of the garden and garden events. While it is intended for the use of all LMU students, anything regarding the garden must be facilitated by members of the club.

“I have been working all year on this project and am so excited to finally break ground. It is going to be a very special day for me and everyone involved in the creation of this garden,” said Bergstrom.

The groundbreaking will include a small ceremony that Burcham will be attending, as well as the ASLMU Senate, which will be presenting a resolution honoring the club.

“ASLMU will also be in attendance, as [L.I.O.N.S. Gardeners are] the first group of students to win our Inspiration Grant,” said David Azevedo, ASLMU vice president, Inspiration Grant administrator and a senior political science major.

Bergstrom organized 10 students to write the proposal for the grant and presented it to the committee. They were then awarded the grant in mid-November of 2010.

The Inspiration Grant is worth $5,000 and is given to a group of students that demonstrates a sustainable service project idea that will have an impact on the LMU community.

The grant was open to all undergraduate students that had a proposal for a long-lasting service project and had at least three student administrators, both requirements which the L.I.O.N.S. Gardeners fulfilled.

With the assistance of the grant, the garden will be planted and celebrated at the groundbreaking ceremony. However, the formal ceremony will be held on April 9, when the garden will be formally introduced to the LMU community with food and live entertainment.

To volunteer at the groundbreaking ceremony, sign-ups are available online at http://www.lmu.edu/resources/inauguration/serviceweek.htm and will close when the event is full.

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