On August 20, the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health (SPH) students officially opened the Health Sciences Center’s Raised Root Garden on the downtown campus. Ms. Jenna Richlie, MPH student, master gardener, and president of the Students for Sustainability campus organization, led the effort to create this urban green space.
Ms. Richlie was joined at the opening event by LSU Health New Orleans SPH dean, Dr. Dean Smith, Chancellor Larry Hollier, and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Joseph Moerschbaecher, as well as Parkway Partners’ Susannah Burley in planting the first vegetables.
Students from all of the LSU Health New Orleans’ six professional schools joined Ms Richlie in turning the once-vacant lot next to the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine into a raised-bed vegetable garden. The 18-bed garden was built under the direction of SPH faculty to assure ecological safety.
The Raised Root Garden will make the LSU Health New Orleans downtown campus more environmentally friendly and promote sustainable education throughout both the academic and surrounding communities. Student organizers have already been approached by organizations such as Liberty’s Kitchen and Second Harvest Food Bank to host outreach programs for the surrounding community.
Students who live on campus will have the opportunity to trade garden maintenance for fresh produce. Faculty and staff members also have adopted beds in the gardening effort. Benches are planned along the covered walkways, allowing all of LSU Health New Orleans students, staff, and faculty members to enjoy a nearby green area.
The Students for Sustainability organization also has partnered with LSU Health New Orleans’ Tiger Den Café to promote greater consumption of fresh, organic produce in the university’s cafeterias with plans to boost the supply of fresh vegetables and fruits.