Regis garden grows community

In the three months since Meg Clarke took over as leader of the Regis Berkeley Community Garden, she’s learned that mint is invasive, Japanese beetles need a deterrent and that nothing that grows in the garden need go to waste.

Clarke, an administrative assistant in the Office of the Dean in the Regis School of Pharmacy, hadn’t gardened much on her own before becoming management coordinator, but she knew the garden was a place for community, both from the Regis campus and the surrounding neighborhood.

“I really wanted to find a way to help the Regis community itself learn more about this garden,” said Clarke, a nursing student at Regis. “I came at it from an angle of, ‘I want to learn more about gardening myself, I want to give back to the community, and I really want to find a way to tie this place in with what we do in our mission.’”

Created in 2010 in partnership with Regis and the Berkeley Neighborhood Association, the garden is one of more than 180 gardens managed by Denver Urban Gardens. Earlier this year, Clarke took over membership responsibilities from former garden leader Nicole Marcisz, a Regis instructional designer in the Department of Instructional Design & Technology. A natural organizer, Clarke was selected for the role, in part, because of her passion for bringing people together.

In addition to Clarke’s new role, Regis accountant Mikayla Jensen took over as garden treasurer from Amy Graybill, the assistant director of plant services for Physical Plant.

The garden offers 24 plots where gardeners can grow whatever they choose. This season, gardeners have planted corn, carrots, garlic, onions, cucumbers, squash, chives, lettuce, beans, okra and strawberries.

A major part of the garden’s mission is to help grow community. Once it’s time to harvest, gardeners donate fresh produce to people in need, including low-income households and women and children of domestic violence. Denver Parks and Recreation rents two plots each year to garden with students and adults with special needs.

All but one half-plot have been claimed for the season. Clarke said volunteers don’t necessarily need to manage a plot to help the garden.

During a recent workday at the site, 14 student volunteers moved six yards of compost and spread 12 yards of crushed stone gravel to improve walkways and ensure all paths are ADA-accessible.

“As an employee and nursing student here, I know how much giving back is integral in our mission,” Clarke said. “Volunteering to coordinate the Regis Berkeley Community Garden has been extremely rewarding and reasserted that even in COVID times, we can stay safe and work hard on helping those less fortunate than ourselves.”

Volunteers interested in helping may email Clarke at