Sustainable student-grown plants adorn Chancellor’s residence

Many of the summer plants at the Chancellor's residence were grown on campus by a student at the university's Agroecology Education Farm.
Many of the summer plants at the Chancellor’s residence were grown on campus by a student at the university’s Agroecology Education Farm.

NC State students and staff think and do right down to the summer plants soaking up the sun in the soil surrounding The Point, home of the university’s chancellor.

NC State’s Grounds Management has partnered with the university’s Agroecology Education Farm to grow hundreds of plants for seasonal landscaping.

With cuttings and seeds from existing plants at The Point, the farm’s spring semester work-study student Jonathan Burchette managed the growth of hundreds of plants including annuals and perennial herbs like lavender, rosemary and thyme.

“The fact that this was a student-led project is important,” said Alison Reeves, manager of the Agroecology Education Farm. “Having a student responsible for how much we needed to grow was good career experience for what it’s like to be a market grower.”

With some seeds harvested from The Point and other specialty seeds purchased, Burchette started the plants in the greenhouses at Marye Anne Fox Science Teaching Lab before moving them to the farm for continued growth. Like all plants at the farm, these were sustainably grown with organic fertilizing techniques. In mid-May, Grounds employees transferred the plants to The Point.

“In essence, this project demonstrated a closed-loop system: NC State students and staff propagating new plants from the university’s existing plants, which were then installed back in the campus landscape,” said Whitney Stevens, a Grounds Management maintenance planner.

The partnership will continue this fall with the farm growing gourds and pumpkins for The Point and perhaps more edible plants for next summer, Reeves said.