Fraternity farming

KA members cultivate a community of gardeners

December 13, 2012 | John Roberts, Newspage Editor

by Jenn Summers ’13, Contributing Writer

Seven chickens, two ducks, and a garden: These are not the typical yard ornaments of a fraternity house.

That didn't concern George Flowers, a senior sustainability science major, when he started a small gardening project along with other Kappa Alpha fraternity members in the spring of 2011. Today, the small garden has expanded and now includes birds. It has even been featured in a local magazine, Edible Upcountry.

The idea was launched when Flowers, who was working on the Furman Farm (an on-campus organic farm located next to the Shi Center for Sustainability) and then KA house-chair Max Dutcher, decided to plant okra, squash, watermelons and other summer plants at the house.

The pair harvested bushels of produce and donated most of their work to friends. Later, Reece Lylerly, a Furman alum living in Greenville, introduced Flowers and KA to his organization, Gardening for Good, a network of community gardens that works to help these gardens continue to assist communities.

Through Lyerly, Flowers received a donation of seeds from the local Master Gardener and Livewell programs, and started planting more. Lyerly also helped the brothers to volunteer in the community and connected them to Greenville Sanitation as a free compost source.

Chickens were introduced last fall by Will George, who graduated last May.  The birds live in a large fenced box built by the fraternity, and caught the attention of Edible Upcountry which earned them an  article in their fall edition.

What began as a small experiment has now blossomed into a group project.

Currently, a half-dozen or so students tend to the KA farm. Brook Buffington, Cameron Seymour, George and Austin Hooker tended to and expanded the garden over the summer.  They also watched after the chickens.

“It's a very small ordeal but it has a lot of things going on with it,” says Flowers.

KA members eventually hope to expand the garden by parceling out small plots to members who would plant and tend their own bed of vegetables.

Eventually could raise enough food to donate to local food banks,” says Flowers.  “But that is down the road.”