“You often think of coming to Fordham at Lincoln Center as an urban experience, and this gives you something of an agricultural experience in addition to the benefits of being in an urban environment,” said Leslie Timoney, associate director of campus operations at Fordham College at Lincoln Center.
For almost a decade, the garden—a small plot with three wooden plant beds—had lived in a sequestered, sunny spot bordering the 60th Street side of the plaza, above McMahon Hall. It grew out of a sustainability project developed by the Lincoln Center student environmental club, known formally as the Fordham College and the Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center Environmental Club.
Last April, the garden underwent a dramatic renovation. The environmental club e-board, with the help of facilities staff, doubled the original number of plant beds—each bed being roughly eight feet long, two feet wide, and 18 inches deep—and expanded the garden’s breadth of crops.
“In the years prior to the renovations, there were a few short wooden beds for use, but with these new tall raised beds, they allow for more growing space and they add a more visually appealing factor to the garden,” explained Brittney Yue, president of the Lincoln Center environmental club.
Inside the beds are roughly a dozen different plant strains. There are clusters of familiar crops—tomatoes, lettuce, garlic—among more unusual choices, like black beauty eggplants and pumpkins. The tomatoes are starting to ripen in the summertime heat, but it won’t be until early October that the pumpkin vines bear fruit.
“We’ve never really had any sort of bountiful harvest until this renovation started,” said Yue. “This is the first time we’ve ever had a legit garden [at Lincoln Center].”
St. Rose’s Garden—a bigger version of the Lincoln Center garden—exists on the Rose Hill campus. Since 2012, members of the campus community have grown crops like collards, cabbage, and kale in the garden space behind Faculty Memorial Hall.
Like its sister in the Bronx, the Lincoln Center garden gives much of its harvest to those who care for it, including student volunteers. Though anyone on campus is welcome to take a tomato here and there, said Yue, she hopes to increase community engagement with the garden. One possible plan is a campus-wide pumpkin carving event, given that the gourds grow to full size. Another idea is more academic.
“One idea that our old [club]president had was to incorporate the garden into some classes,” said Yue, a senior psychology student at the Lincoln Center campus. “If there’s any bio classes who do plant stuff or horticulture, we would love for them to be able to come out here and learn about the plants.”
It’s something that, in a way, she already does. On a sunny July afternoon, Yue tended to the plants, particularly the tomatoes that had just begun to turn red.
“That’s the great thing about fresh-grown gardens,” said Yue, smiling while washing a freshly picked cherry tomato with a nearby hose. “You can pluck them right off the vine.”