Helping Healthy Knights


The UCF Arboretum not only provides educational opportunities for students and the community, but they also partner with the Knights Pantry.   The Knights Pantry offers food for free on campus. Obtainable through the space are canned goods, toiletries, and clothing. The shelves are filled up through donations made directly to the pantry or to boxes around campus.

The Arboretum donates their fresh organic produce from the community garden to the Knights Pantry. This healthy food is now easily accessible to students in need on campus.  The UCF Arboretum fulfills the need for fresh produce that isn’t met through normal donations. All that is required of students to gain access to the Knights Pantry is a UCF ID at the front door.

One goal of this partnership is to increase student’s vegetable intake. Program assistant for the Arboretum, Jacques Werleigh, said that their goals include increasing the amount of individual people and entities involved in the partnership. They also hope increase the amount of fresh produce they are able to donate to the pantry, student’s education on food, teaching students how to grow healthy food, and the overall food growing process.

“Along with growing bio-intensively, as the partnership progressed, more plots became available and utilized for donation to the pantry,” Werleigh said. “Other projects such as recipe cards, and plant profiles that educate individuals on the content of the crop.”

In 2012 the partnership began as part of a greater partnership including Wellness and Health Promotion Services.
“The program is expanding a great deal thanks to a collective initiative, FreshU – Grown at UCF, by the UCF Arboretum, Health Services, and Wellness and Health Promotion Services,” Werleigh said.

FreshU – Grown at UCF has a few hydroponic towers that can be seen around campus that adds to the amount and quality of fresh produce available to students through Knights Pantry.

According to their website, the UCF Arboretum give students the opportunity to engage with the natural environment and encourages participants to continue engagement through research and educational initiatives. By doing so, they are increasing ecological knowledge and guide conservation and stewardship of natural resources.

Through their engagement with Knights Pantry the UCF Arboretum has been able to increase education and overall health of the UCF student body.

The Knights Pantry is open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located in Ferrell Commons. The UCF Arboretum is located on the east side of campus and offers numerous trails through several types of ecosystems.

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