Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augie Acres grows with students

Shadab Ahmed
Augie Acres members clean out garden for new growth on March 17, 2024

After the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the Quad Cities, Augie Acres is working hard to regrow their garden, as well as their community.  

The club gives students opportunities to plant crops, learn about gardening and the ability to take the produce back home with them. 

Augie Acres’ purpose is to grow local fresh produce for the community, and whatever is not taken is donated to local businesses.

In the past, the leadership team has had unfinished projects. 

The area that was meant for Augie Acres members to garden grew out and invasive species began consuming the land. 

Adriana Reyes, president of Augie Acres, had always had an interest in the outdoors and was very passionate about the foods we consume and put in our bodies.

By educating students and giving access to locally grown foods to the community for free, Reyes continues her dedication to this group.

Reyes said she realized that if Augie Acres wanted to grow, there needed to be a change. 

“I was looking for a job, and it is something I am very passionate about. Taking on this role, you learn as the process goes, and I’ve learned so much about gardening and taking care of plants,” Reyes said. “This is something beautiful that I really wanted to continue on and to get other students engaged in understanding [how to] tend to a garden.”

Augie Acres is currently in the process of starting from scratch and learning day by day  which approach is best for this group to continue. 

Senior Alex Sell digs next to garden beds during Augie Acres meeting on March 17, 2024.

As of right now, the group’s goal is to get the crops planted and looking ahead for summer and fall for harvesting. 

Ian Empen is the grounds keeper and volunteer coordinator for Augie Acres.

Empen works on outreach programs to get students involved with the gardening process.  

Augie Acres welcomes gardening experts and people completely new to the concept, offering work days that anyone can show up to. 

Work days take place Sundays in the late mornings, where the current members teach new members the practices that allow the land to flourish to its fullest. 

“We are working on getting Greek groups and other service groups down to the garden to do their own work days,” Empen said. “Our work days count towards service hours for Greek groups, so it’s a great opportunity.”

While the end of the year is quickly approaching, and spring break is right around the corner, students, faculty and staff have been looking forward to getting away from the school setting by relaxing in the best ways possible.

For senior Ally Magsombol, the secretary and outreach coordinator for Augie Acres, being a part of this group has gotten her mind off of school and given her the opportunity to interact with people she may not have otherwise met.

“I always love working outdoors and realized that I love gardening and, honestly, playing in the dirt. I also love the idea of interacting in a different way with different people,” Magsombol said. “[Augie Acres offers] a way to take a mental break from school and everyday life to just relax and be one with nature.” 

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