Monuments honoring Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr. sit at the entrance of Martin Luther King Jr. Community Garden on Carlton Avenue. The Community Growers club hosted their annual Rake and Bake event on April 20 at the garden. (Maeve Kelly/B&W Staff)

Community Growers events plant roots for sustainability development


In honor of Earth Day on April 22 and in an ongoing commitment to fostering positive environmental change, the Community Growers club has hosted events that emphasize community.

Community Growers is a student-led club at Lehigh that works to foster and increase sustainability in the Lehigh and Southside communities. Throughout the year, the club hosts several events to create a community built on eco-friendly foundations.

On April 18, the Community Growers club hosted a Mosaic Tile-Making and Sealing Posters event at the Health, Science and Technology building in preparation for their annual Rake and Bake event on April 20 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Garden on Carlton Avenue.

“The Community Growers is a sustainability-oriented club that focuses on building connections between like-minded peers and the local Southside community,” Club President Ella Rosetti, ‘25, said.

The club mainly strives to achieve these connections through outreach and community events. Rake and Bake occurs annually on April 20, and it’s one of their most popular events, Rosetti said.

Members of the Community Growers pose with personalized mosaic stepping stones on April 20 at their Rake and Bake event in the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Garden. The tiles were created to decorate the garden and add a touch of Lehigh to the public space. (Hiti Gupta/B&W Staff)

Rake and Bake is hosted in the MLK Community Garden, a plot shared by Lehigh and local residents. It’s an eight-minute walk from Lehigh’s campus and allows different communities to foster shared connection, interaction and sustainability efforts.

One of the activities included decorating the garden using mosaics created during the Community Growers’ tile-making event. Club members expressed themselves creatively through stepping stone tiles covered in paint and colorful gems.

Rossetti said the goal of creating these decorations was to add a touch of Lehigh to the MLK Community Garden.

The Community Growers and other attendees also ate brownies and tended to the garden through tasks like planting herbs.

“At the event, I did several odd jobs like picking up trash, raking leaves and composting,” club member Kathryn Lynn, ‘27, said.

Lynn said one of the missions of Rake and Bake is to plant herbs and vegetables that the garden can later harvest and provide to the local community, as Bethlehem is considered a food desert. 

Another mission of the event is to teach attendees environmentally friendly practices to utilize in the future.

“The event allows people to start their own garden through the techniques we learn,” Kyle Ramsingh, ‘26, said. “The garden feeds numerous people over a long time.”

Rake and Bake has been hosted every year in commemoration of Earth Day since the club’s formation in 2015. This year, Community Growers worked alongside Nia Watson, the coordinator for the local non-profit Community Action Lehigh Valley, to organize and host the event.

Rossetti has been the president of Community Growers for two years. She said she believes the club has grown significantly under her leadership and is focused on its future growth.

“I just hope we can continue to grow so we can serve a larger amount of students, and this will also benefit the community outside of Lehigh,” Rossetti said.

Beyond events hosted by Community Growers, Lehigh students and Southside residents can spend time volunteering and interacting with the community in the public MLK Community Garden throughout the week.

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