If you have visited the Waleska Farmers market, an RU Green event, or had community service, you probably know Zachary White. White is a genuine person who is always looking for a way to help someone. “I like to work with the students,” White says. Even though White makes campus beautiful, started the local Farmers market, and keeps busy building his farm, you will still see White at every home game cheering for the Reinhardt Eagles football team.
White, a Reinhardt graduate, had his interest grabbed when he first started work study . In 1993, when you signed up for work study at Reinhardt they would just assign you to a job. By chance, White was given the horticulture job and fell in love with working with plants. In 1994, White got his first job at Greg’s Nursery in Stone Mountain. After graduating from Reinhardt, he attended the University of Georgia.. While at the University of Georgia White met several professors who had such a passion for plants, and loved doing what they did every day. This was when he realized what he wanted to do within his life. One professor, in particular, stood out. Dr. Michael Dirr was so passionate about plants that the Dr. Dirr’s classes would spend hours just walking through campus looking at all the plants.
After graduating from Georgia, White accepted an internship at a greenhouse in Cleveland, Ohio. The internship was just “icing on top of the cake” according to White. He enjoyed the internship and later landed a job at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Little did White know that he was coming back to the place where it all started twenty-one years earlier. He returned to work at Reinhardt in 2002.
Soon after returning to Reinhardt, White started making changes. At that time, the greenhouse was only used for storing the golf carts. White suggested that the greenhouse should be cleared and used for its actual purpose. White was also able to convince the University to start growing their plants. He argued that growing plants would be financially and environmentally beneficial. White hoped this would also make Reinhardt citizens proud about how gorgeous their campus would look with their flowers everywhere. White said that Reinhardt “went from growing zero percent of their plants to growing one-hundred percent of their plants.”
White just loves the atmosphere here at Reinhardt and has spent half of his life here. If you are not careful around White, you will get caught up in his love for plants. White says he works in a place he loves, “wake up every morning excited about work.” On big days like Beautification Day, you can just see the sparkle in his eye. White gets so excited not only about the faculty, staff, and students getting involved with their campus but also being able to be involved with everyone doing the thing White loves.
In 2009, White started the Waleska Farmers Market. It was started because he saw that other farmers markets brought a sense community to their cities and believed that Waleska needed their very own farmers market. The farmers market is held on Thursdays from 3-7, and run from May through Labor Day. Thursday was chosen to avoid competing with the big farmers markets allowing more vendors to attend. The market has an average showing of twenty vendors every week.
This past year was Whites first year of owning his farm. “This first year was a learning experience,” says White. He learned a lot and plans on capitalizing on the mistakes he had made. He grows peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, sunflowers, and potatoes. They are then sold at farmers markets in the north Georgia region. When White graduated from UGA, he already knew that he wanted his farm. The name of the farm is Buice Family Farms, which happens to be named after his grandparent’s last name. Before they passed away, they left White some money to help him start the farm, but that’s not the reason the farm is named Buice Family Farms. It was named after Whites grandparents because they had such a big influence on his life. “They taught me how to read when I was little,” says White. They were also the reason White wanted to go to Georgia after graduating from Reinhardt. They had such a big impact on his life and meant so much to White that naming the farm after them just came naturally. Although White has the nine-acre farm up and running, there is still more to be done. White would also like to build a greenhouse on the land soon.
There is so much that White has done here at Reinhardt, and not many people know. Earth Day at Reinhardt was started by White. Each year a tree is planted in honor of Earth Day, and White likes to name the tree after somebody on campus . One year he planted a tree for a student who passed away. White believes that it provides some closure for the family. Last year he planted a tree for Reinhardt’s departing president. The Arboretum, which is all the labels on the trees and shrubs around campus, is run by White. “It brings back some of the history back to campus,” explains White. Walter May, the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Activities and White started Campus Beautification Day. This was the fourth year they held the event in which faculty, staff, and students gather to make campus beautiful by planting flowers and bushes. This year “about 70 people showed up” to help plant plants in the rain. White has also received the key to the city for starting the Waleska Farmers market. One of Whites favorite award is the Jason Campbell Spirit Award. White received this award at half time last year and meant a great deal to him because Jason Campbell was best friends with White when they went to Reinhardt. It just makes sense for White to receive a spirit award for Reinhardt because he has so much pride for this University, and loves to show it any chance he gets.
Everywhere White goes he strives to make it the best environment he can. White has done it for Waleska by starting the farmers market. White has also done it for Reinhardt more times than can be counted.
Zachary White receiving the key to the city for starting the farmers market.