Potomac Heights Organic Vegetable Garden
The Potomac Heights Organic Vegetable Garden (PHVG) at George Mason University was started in April 2009 with the support of the Office of Sustainability. After a rocky start, the garden is now thriving! It is maintained by the student organization known as GOGA (GMU Organic Garden Association).
Volunteer with GOGA in the Organic Garden
The PHVG’s success has been built upon the generous help and support of its volunteers. We would love for you to join us. If there is anything to harvest, you get to take some home after you volunteer!
All volunteers, students or otherwise, are required to register for a volunteer shift through Sign Up Genius. Follow the link to secure your spot before they fill up!
The volunteer shifts are available first come-first serve. There will also be occasional group tours that you can sign up for to help you get started. You can learn to assist us with transplanting, composting, mulching, plant identification and other garden maintenance. You do not need any prior experience. The garden staff, either Rhys or Zach will lead you through the tasks.
If you plan to volunteer we recommend wearing clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Also, please bring your own reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. The garden gets hot on sunny days, so dress in layers in case you need to cool off, wear sunscreen, or a hat.
GOGA (George Mason Organic Garden Association)
This student group is responsible for garden outreach and education within the Mason community. They are also in charge of coordinating volunteer efforts on the garden. GOGA is always accepting new leaders who want to get involved by helping to host garden hours, lead volunteers, plan events and coordinate meetings. It is a great way to test out if an agricultural career is right for you. Plus you will gain leadership and career experience that you can put on your resume. Send your schedule of conflicts and a statement of intent to Rhys at email@example.com for leadership and internship inquiries.
Staff and Leadership for the PHVG
Donielle (Doni) Nolan is the faculty advisor for GOGA and the helps with the garden as needed. GOGA is currently accepting applications for next-year’s student leaders. The current GOGA President is Zach, and our Gardens Team Leader is Rhys Bethke, a student studying environmental and sustainability studies.
The Potomac Heights Garden is hidden behind the Potomac Heights residence hall, near the back of the Aquatic Center (shown by the pick arrow and an image of a peach on the map above). When you approach the Potomac Heights building, go downhill toward the parking lot, and then go around the corner to the back of the building to get to the garden.
Where Does the Produce Go?
Hard work pays off! Garden volunteers that come to help out on a regular basis are given fresh vegetables to take home. Growing food is incredibly important, but enjoying the fruits of your hard labor is equally as important. Please do not take any produce from the garden unless you’ve volunteered. Students work hard for the fruits of their labor and we had issues with this in the past. If you get involved we will happily share the bounty with you!
When there is a surplus of produce it is donated to other staff on campus or given to a local food bank, such as Food for Others and James Mott Community Center. We at the garden know the value and importance of incorporating fresh, healthy, locally-grown produce into our diets. Naturally we want to extend this opportunity out to as many people as possible- especially those in need.
In the summer of 2011, the Potomac Heights Vegetable garden was able to produce enough fruits and vegetables to sell a small amount at a weekly kiosk in the Johnson Center. The money made from this produce stand is filtered back into operating costs for the garden.
Community Garden Plots
Want a garden bed for yourself, but don’t have a usable yard or tools? Apply to have your very own raised bed in the PHVG and grow anything you want (within our guidelines) while getting to use the garden shed and our tools. It costs $10 a month during the growing season and the funds go toward supporting the garden. Fill out this form to apply for your own bed. There are only 4 available, and it’s first come first serve.
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Donielle Nolan, Greenhouse and Gardens Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org