Pride Garden paves way for LGBTQ+ acceptance and agricultural sustainability

By: Hannah Yale

In the aftermath of the successful Call Us By Our Names sit-in for LGBTQ+ student rights, members of the SMCM community are continuing to make progress for queer issues on campus. One such project that has just recently broken ground is the Pride Garden at the Kate Chandler Farm. This new initiative paves the way for progress in both LGBTQ+ acceptance and agricultural sustainability at St. Mary’s.

Environmental studies professor Dr. Barry Ross Muchnick– who openly supported and attended the sit-in during October– told The Point News that he is “impressed and inspired by the resolve and resilience our LGBTQ+ folx” and said that the sit-in “open[ed] channels of communication across campus [and] demonstrated what self-advocacy and collective courage look like.”

At the sit-in at Calvert Hall, Muchnick told protesters about the new Pride Garden at the campus farm that aims to celebrate queer culture and express solidarity with SMCM’s LGBTQ+ community.

The Pride Garden opened this fall after being developed by the Kate Farm and LGBTQ+ student groups like STARS (St. Mary’s Triangle and Rainbow Society) and Transgenda. The Pride Garden is growing rainbow colored produce to sell to the Great Room to support sustainable food practices on campus. The coordinators of the Pride Garden also have plans to launch an online store of Pride Garden merchandise in the near future to help fund other LQBTQ+ awareness projects on campus. 

“The Kate Chandler Campus Community Farm is a safe and inclusive space to grow food, awareness and community,” Muchnick said. The Kate Farm is located just south of SMCM campus on Point Lookout Rd.– about a 10 minute walk from the Campus Center. 

There are many ways for students and faculty to get involved with the Pride Garden and other Kate Farm initiatives. Campus community members can email Dr. Muchnick at brmuchnick@smcm.edu to sign up to volunteer at the Pride Garden, join a Pride Garden coordination email list, or to receive notification when the Pride Garden online store launches. 

Muchnick also recommended that students can learn more about how sustainable agriculture supports inclusion, diversity and equity by enrolling in ENST 391: Field Study in Sustainable Agriculture, next semester.

As the school year progresses, look for “Grown with Pride” signs on dishes and produce in the Great Room, and make sure to visit the Pride Garden to cultivate community, sustainability and LGBTQ+ celebration.

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