Community garden gets growing

Omar Mosquera checks on tomato plants in Brock's new community garden

Omar Mosquera checks on tomato plants in Brock's new community garden.

Everything is coming up tomatoes – and peppers, kale, squash and herbs – near the Parking Services building this summer thanks to a new community garden taking root.

Twelve plots have been carved into a swath of grass near the Theal House and in them, tidy rows of edible plants are sprouting. They were planted by Brock staff and students using the fertile space to hone their green thumbs.

The food-growing oasis was built by a handful of volunteers with DIG at Brock, a group dedicated to sustainable living on campus that came to be after one of its founders built a rooftop garden for a non-governmental organization in his native Colombia.

“That was a really great experience and I wanted to keep doing it,” said Omar Mosquera, DIG founder.

Mosquera started planting the seeds for a community garden at Brock last year, drafting a proposal chock full of objectives, working out logistics and finding funding to enable the garden to come to fruition.

An avid gardener himself, Mosquera credits Kristen Smith, community outreach programs manager, Tom Arkell, community and ancillary services executive director, and John Dick, manager of grounds services, with helping to grow the project from idea to reality.

Funding came by way of the students’ union and a grant from Project SEED administered by the Student Leadership and Innovation Commons. But Mosquera has plans to ensure DIG doesn’t have to keep digging into the pockets of others to maintain the garden. The group has reserved a few plots for its own use, where it will grow vegetables to sell at farmers markets. A $50-annual membership fee for those wanting room to grow is also collected.

“A lot of it is funded but we want to get away from that and be sustainable,” he said.

The hope is to also add more plots to the garden for others to try their hands at growing food.

So why don the gardening gloves and become an urban farmer? For Mosquera, it’s the gratification that a growing season brings.

“You can see the progress. You can see Step 1 to Step 2. I think in life you don’t always see that,” he said. “With gardening, you can see your work immediately. You have an immediate reward.”

For more information about community gardening at Brock, email

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