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Food Pantry Garden: Bringing the Community Together

By Summer Tyler

The Food Pantry is located on campus right across from Starbucks, and this spring, they’re planning on adding a Food Pantry Garden to expand their options (Photo via @Purchfoodpantry on Instagram)

The Purchase College Food Pantry has made great strides within the Purchase community in providing a variety of foods for students as well as others who happen to be on campus. It creates a safe space for those in the community to come to pick up free food with no questions asked and has created a sense of community in making students feel welcomed and comfortable in having this type of resource on campus. A Food Pantry Garden is hoped to be installed to add Purchase grown produce to the mix!

“I love the food pantry here, I get so much free food there,” said Valentino Scotti Di Cesare, a sophomore.

Avery Caldwell, a freshman at Purchase this semester, said how, “the food pantry could benefit from having more variety in their selection, as of right now I feel like there are limited options.”

A few years ago, a concept was formed between students as well as Purchase faculty in both Humanities and Student Affairs in contributing to the idea of creating a community garden here at Purchase.

“The concept evolved to a garden that will support the food pantry in both product, whatever is grown in the garden, and programming and education,” said Micheal Kopas, Senior Director of Facilities and Capital Planning.

The Food Pantry Garden is ultimately going to have a positive impact on the food pantry in providing more variety in food as well as uniting the community.

“The garden is ultimately meant to bring the community together,” said Lizz Elvira, Assistant Director in the Multicultural Center and Food Pantry Supervisor.

Patricia Bice, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment, was asked about the overall mission of this project and how it would affect community members. She said that the Food Pantry Garden would build the community in, “having access to more fresh produce in the food pantry would be one goal of the food pantry but it would also provide a way to have various community members contribute by assisting with the garden, as well as some summer programs that we run for incoming students.”

The Mission of the Food Pantry Garden would be, Bice said via email, “To complement the food made available through the college’s food pantry; to expand wellness opportunities (education, healthy eating, stress reduction); to complement our sustainability efforts; to create social intersections between various community members from different backgrounds (diversity and community).”

The Food Pantry Garden is not only going to provide free access to fresh produce, but is also prominent in bringing people in this community together to create something special for others. Students and faculty will begin working on building this garden in the spring of 2024. Volunteers are considering building it near the patio by Fort Awesome or closer to the main dining hall, both in between the food pantry.

A new and refreshing commutative venture made to provide and make positive change for community members is currently in the works and should be coming to Purchase this spring!



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