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Creating Campus Gardens

Creating Campus Gardens

As I wrote about last week, college and university students are leading the way in the local food movement by not only purchasing local foods, but by getting their schools to do the same.

Groups such as the Real Food Challenge and Farm to College initiatives have gone a long way towards making this happen by working to increase the procurement of real food on college and university campuses.

But, there is another way that students are bringing fresh local produce to both their school and the surrounding communities. This is through the creation of on-campus community gardens.

The benefits of community gardens are numerous. Growing a community garden promotes health and wellness, provides a place for leisure, provides food for those in need, creates wildlife habitats, storm water control or water quality improvement, and provides teaching opportunities.

They also are a great way to develop community and build relationships both on-campus, and with the surrounding neighborhood and residents off-campus.

So it is no surprise that higher education institutions would create them. The AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) estimates that there are over 100 colleges and universities with community gardens on campus.

One of the newest of these on-campus gardens is the Organic Learning Garden that is still under construction at Santa Monica College, in Santa Monica, California that will allow both students and employees the chance to grow their own food.

Others include the University of Portland’s Student Led Unity Garden (SLUG), Rice University in Houston, Texas, that has three community gardens, and the University of Maine, which has community gardens at both of its campuses. The Augusta garden grows flowers that are used around the campus, and the Bangor campus grows an organic vegetable garden.

Even NYU has created a community garden and started the Community Agriculture Club that grows seasonal fruits and vegetables in coldframes in Washington Square Village. They also host other agriculture related events, including talks, sustainable cooking parties, community service days, and film screenings.

Some campuses even have their own produce stands, farmers’ markets and/or CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture).

If you are interested in starting a community garden on your campus, Real Food Challenge has a manual on their site to help you start.

Read more: Community, Community Service, Conscious Consumer, Do Good, Environment, Food, Lawns & Gardens, Life, Make a Difference, Nature, , , ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

45 comments

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4:25AM PST on Jan 19, 2012

Thanks for the article.

8:11AM PST on Jan 17, 2012

"Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food." Hippocrates
we must light up the darkness for knowledge is not power its empowering lets all be empowered to change. life has value beyond measure
Peace and Love

2:01AM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

There is so much open spaces in our campus.

11:51AM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

this is a great idea.

9:39PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

AWESOME! And I love it that everyone...yes, 100% voted "YES" to the poll. I've never seen that before!

10:54AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

thanks.

1:33AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

nice!

8:31AM PDT on Sep 12, 2011

This is great news!

11:28AM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

Great Idea, every school school have a garden.

7:27PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

I think that is a great idea. I dont nothing wrong with it.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

Thanks for sharing!!!

I worry about our fur babies too; I completely understand.

Thank you for sharing this. I will have to try some of these out.

I agree with Kamia

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