Winter is over and the sun is finally out in Bellingham, creating the perfect weather for planting seeds. Gardening may seem impossible for those living in cramped dorm rooms and apartments, but Western’s five-acre farm and wetland restoration site, the Outback Farm, offers students the opportunity to contribute to a community garden.

To get students started, the Outback Farm is offering a free seed starting workshop on Tuesday, April 8 at 3 p.m. Associated Students Outback Assistant Coordinator Grace Coffey described the workshop as a hands-on introduction, aimed at those without a lot of experience. The workshop will educate people about starting seeds, transplanting and which soils to use.

Using the right planting techniques plays a critical role in the success of a crop, Coffey said. Everyone who participates in the workshop will get a chance to master these techniques and will also get to take seeds home with them.

For those that don’t have the space to garden at home, the Outback’s community garden offers over 40 plots that students, faculty and staff can apply for. The community garden was revamped in 2011 with $11,000 from an Associated Students grant, giving more students the opportunity to manage a plot. The Outback Farm also has an educational garden that focuses on productivity, growing crops to contribute to the Bellingham Food Bank.

While produce is readily available in grocery stores, Coffey encouraged students to explore the benefits of growing their own produce.

“I think it’s an important way to familiarize yourself with gardening,” Coffey said.

For more information about the workshop or the Community Garden, email Coffey at