Oglethorpe University and other educational and religious institutions around Brookhaven have launched a shared garden to nurture the community’s growth.

The university donated the land for the Oglethorpe University-Brookhaven Community Garden behind the Emerson Student Center, and volunteers built six raised garden beds on the site Feb. 16. Davis Landscape donated the timber and additional materials for the beds.

Among the other institutions involved in the project are St. Martin’s Episcopal School, Brookhaven Christian Church and Oglethorpe Presbyterian Church. Oglethorpe Presbyterian and the university’s Center for Civic Engagement provided funding for the garden.

The community garden has two main goals: to grow vegetables for local use and to build a sense of community.

“It is the sincere hope of all involved that the food grown in the garden go to nourish the community from which it came,” according to a statement from Oglethorpe. “Proposals include using the food to feed students attending area schools, as well as supplying fresh greens for local food banks.”

The garden also will provide an education in ecology. Plans for learning opportunities include St. Martin’s, DeKalb County’s PATH Academy and the university’s urban ecology program.

DeKalb’s horticulture manager, Gary Peiffer, and the Cooperative Extension’s county agent, Bobby Wilson, will offer classes at Oglethorpe and Brookhaven churches on topics ranging from building rain barrels to planning community gardens.

Another community garden with which Wilson was involved planted the seed for the Brookhaven project.

Wilson worked for two summers with Michael Dalmat, a senior evaluator at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Patrick Tracy, a senior vice president at Omni National Bank, to build a community garden in Honduras. Members of the Honduras group met with Oglethorpe officials Oct. 13 to discuss creating such a garden on university grounds.

Wilson and Peiffer provided tools and guidance at the construction of the Brookhaven garden Feb. 16, and they will help guide the growing of various vegetables and herbs.