A person holding a bag of green peppers.
Kelly Andreuzzi '23, MS '24, with a haul of fresh peppers from the Community Garden.

Student volunteers are giving their time and skills to grow vegetables then donated to the Panther Pantry.

Walk through Adelphi’s campus—a registered arboretum—and you’ll see many species of trees and decorative blooms. Now there’s another garden between Linen and Eddy halls. But instead of flowers, this garden grows peppers, lettuce and other vegetables that students are harvesting and donating to the Panther Pantry, so their fellow students and community members can get nutritious, homegrown produce.

The Community Garden came about thanks to Kelly Andreuzzi. Andreuzzi, who uses they/them pronouns, has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a master’s degree in environmental studies. A former president of the Environmental Action Coalition (EAC) and environmental activist, they spearheaded the garden initiative in 2022, with the support of the Center for Student and Community Engagement (SCE). “Community is especially important to me—I have immense passion for empowering my own community and dedicating time to providing services that truly make a difference.”

According to Kelsey D’Andrea, assistant director of the SCE, the main crops of the garden are various types of lettuces, peppers and tomatoes. “We are hoping, over time, to find other plants that will thrive within the garden,” she said.

Growing Together

Senior Erica Gibson, volunteer coordinator of the Panther Pantry, said the food donated is appreciated by the pantry and its patrons. “We want to [supply] the people who visit the Pantry with fresh ingredients whenever we can to help them add a bit extra to the amazing variety of items we already provide them,” she said. For example, she cited that the garden’s tomatoes could be used to make fresh tomato sauce to pair with the pantry’s various pastas they provide.

The pantry plays an important role in the harvesting of the garden.

“In the upcoming semesters, we will be moving more intentionally to strengthen our relationship between the members of the Community Garden and the volunteers of the Panther Pantry,” said Gibson.

The garden is a great place to learn and be a part of a community. “Reflecting back, I feel more appreciative of food and those working to provide our communities with fresh produce,” Andreuzzi said. “I am happy to say that I applied the theories and practices that I have learned inside the classroom into the Community Garden on campus.”

Blossoming in Knowledge

The Community Garden is more than a resource that provides food for others. Volunteers also gain valuable skills and learn more about themselves.

“Working on the Community Garden helped me gain the knowledge and experience to start my own garden at home to provide my family with a sustainable source of produce,” said Andreuzzi. “Working with others and sharing knowledge as a community has taught me to become a better gardener and be able to share what I have learned with others.”

Being able to volunteer in this garden provides students with new perspectives on agriculture and the importance of community.

Andreuzzi said, “Agriculture is hard, calculated work—it’s extremely time sensitive and requires an immense amount of consistent care.”


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