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Community Garden and Beehives

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Community Beehives
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Janelia’s Garden and Beekeeping Clubs help nurture community, as well as fruits and vegetables.
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Just beyond Janelia’s loading dock, atop a small incline and protected by a 10-foot chain-link fence, rests an oasis of sorts: Janelia’s community garden. Brimming with herbs, fruits, and vegetables, and buzzing with the activity of bees from the nearby apiary, the space provides a sense of community for Janelians, as well as a chance to take a short break from work and recharge.

Established in March 2009, the garden was the brainchild of Janelia’s Kristen Nyce and the late Frank Midgley, who wanted to provide Janelians with a place to grow their own food. Since then, the garden has quadrupled in size. It has its own water supply, a compost pile, and even a toolshed to house garden equipment.

Forty or so members of the Garden Club each care for one or more of the area’s 190 4×4-foot plots year round. The club attracts an eclectic group of Janelians — from foodservice staff to postdocs to group leaders — with equally wide-ranging gardening skills. The crops are just as diverse: staples like tomatoes and peppers intermingle with red spinach and lemongrass. 

One of the garden’s primary pollinators is the European honeybee, which lives in wooden colonies in an adjacent field. Attended by the Beekeeping Club, headed by Christopher Bruns, the insects improve the garden’s yields and also help the club’s aspiring and seasoned beekeepers practice their hobby.