The Alpha Zeta Eta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society at North Lake College has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for improvements to its 8-year-old community garden. Donation deadline is Jan. 31. Photos courtesy of North Lake College.

Jan. 16, 2017

An honor society at North Lake College wants to expand and upgrade its community garden, as well as fund other sustainable initiatives, and is seeking the public's help through a crowdfunding campaign.

North Lake College community gardenIn 2009, members of North Lake College’s Alpha Zeta Eta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society started the community garden on the Irving campus to provide student and community members with fresh vegetables. Today, members must raise a minimum of $20,000 for expanision or relocation of the garden, upgrading an outdated watering system, purchasing sustainable patio furniture and as well as for maintenance of campus trees, xeriscaping and butterfly gardens, thus the Home Green Home crowdfunding campaign. Seeds, soil and other gardening materials are also an ongoing expense for this organic garden.  

“Over the years, members raised money for tools and a supply shed, and the facilities department donated an irrigation system,” says Brandon Morton, sustainability coordinator for the campus. “Hopes are to get an outdoor seating area with a charging station for laptops and cell phones.”

Outgoing Phi Theta Kappa gardeners train incoming gardeners, and the process continues year after year.

The organization provides different scholarships, service and leadership opportunities for students. In 2015, out of 1,300 chapters, North Lake College’s chapter was the 10th most distinguished chapter internationally. It received a five-star award, which is given based on continuous excellence.  

One of the campus' butterfly gardens.

North Lake College butterfly gardenEvery year, the chapter is challenged to complete a college project, which serves to establish and strengthen a supportive relationship between the chapter and the college administration. The project encourages chapters to look at their college campuses for needs and opportunities to work together and give back. Members have to come up with two or three projects to propose to college leadership. A project is vetted and approved.  

Sandra Gutierrez, Chair of Proposals, shares that the garden’s watering system is outdated and limited space is an obstacle for long-term plans. Signage to increase visibility as well as gardening supplies are also needed.

North Lake College Community Garden compost“Students, faculty and the community will benefit from this environmentally friendly project as it aims to minimize usage of water and in the long run, decrease maintenance costs and produce economic efficiency,” she says.  

Phi Theta Kappa’s president Javier Ruiz and vice president Sadiya Patel are leaders of the Home Green Home project.

Vegetables are harvested and taken to the students’ Blazer Store where they are offered free of charge in exchange for Blazer Bucks, which are earned by participating in campus events. Volunteers who help with the gardening are also given free vegetables, if they wish. Food, clothing, school supplies, jewelry, etc. are also free to students at the Blazer Store.    

The Sustainability Blazer Committee, which pilots Home Green Home, is made up of faculty staff, students, board chairs and some grounds and landscape staff.  

“North Lake’s campus sustainability commitment is to be carbon neutral and promote community resilience,” says Morton. “This student-led community garden helps commit to this project.”

Donations go toward making sustainable changes on campus for future students and can be made online here at or by calling 214-621-1487.  The fundraiser ends Jan. 31, 2017.  

College Project: Home Green Home

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