Garden opens

Students grow crops

Dedicating the Liberty University Garden in memory of the late Henry and Elvira Morris, President Jerry Falwell, Jr., and the Liberty University community gathered atop Liberty Mountain in celebration of new life, Friday, Oct. 25.

Students, faculty and staff enjoyed food samplings, cooking demonstrations and a tour of the Morris Campus Garden.

However, before anyone could take part in the festivities or pay compliments to Executive Director of Sodexo Chef Craig DaSuta for his bruschetta, hot soups and pumpkin pancakes, members of administration participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony, offering kind words toward the Morris family.

Henry and Elvira Morris’ son, Chip Morris, and his family were also in attendance.

Reminiscing over the campus’ past, Falwell addressed those in attendance about a time before Jeffersonian Architecture filled the campus.

“Henry Morris made it his mission to beautify Liberty University,” Falwell said. “Even in the years before we had beautiful buildings, nice architecture and red brick, we received compliments all around campus because of what Henry Morris did to make it beautiful.”

According to Falwell, Henry Morris was responsible for much of the horticulture around campus, which included various donations of planting equipment and machinery, the maple trees planted along University Boulevard, the mentoring of current Grounds Manager Randy Johnson and the building of the old 1980s greenhouse, which once resided where the Jerry Falwell Library stands today.

Searching for a new place to recognize Morris’ work, Falwell and alumna Alicia Cripe, the garden manager, decided to honor Morris with the name of the garden.

Cripe, the original innovator behind the Morris Campus Garden, has been working diligently with her team for a year and a half on a four-phase process to bring the garden to life.
“We want this garden to be something that is really honoring to the Lord,” Cripe said. According to Cripe, the garden is in its first phase and is not scheduled to be completed until spring of 2015.

By producing this vision, Cripe’s team wishes to teach students how to work the land and use the knowledge they gain by working in the garden to use toward missions and volunteering in their communities and other countries.

“We really want to get connected in with different areas of the university and the community,” Cripe said. “Whoever is interested is welcome to come up and dabble as they please, whether they have zero experience with planting or a lot.”

Cripe also looks to impact the student body by producing fresh crops that can be used in the Sodexo facilities around campus.
According to Cripe, nearly everything in the garden is edible.

“The idea is that everything we grow that is produce can be taken to the dining halls for students to enjoy,” Cripe said. “Right now, we are growing cold-weather crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and carrots.”

The Morris Campus Garden will offer students the unique opportunity to get their hands dirty while gaining the necessary skills for ministry and Christian service. For more information, visit Liberty’s Center for Christian/Community Service (CSER) Web page.

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