There has been a growing interest in creating a campus garden
over the past few years. The sustainability movements on campus, in student and faculty and staff populations have been highly interested in concepts of sustainable farming and food production, in addition to supporting the local economy by buying local. Establishing a garden is one of the next steps we are looking at taking to pursue this goal.
Mission Statement: We seek to establish a garden that has a year-round purpose, a solid plan for management, has ties to academic courses, provides research opportunities, and creates campus and community team-building.
A garden would provide the following benefits to our campus community:
- Demonstrating the ecological, social, and economic benefits of increasing biodiversity and incorporating native species in urban landscapes
- Promoting local and organic food production by producing food in a sustainable manner, without the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms
- Providing the campus community with an engaged learning community to apply classroom knowledge within a living laboratory
- Promoting discussions on access to local and healthy food choices within the region, the presence of food deserts in our community, and the health impacts of food choices
- Encouraging civic involvement and social interaction as means of establishing strong, resilient communities
What is a heritage garden?
A heritage garden is designed to honor and reflect the cultural and natural history of the surrounding region while utilizing sustainable gardening practices. This would include:
- Promoting the use of native plants, specifically those with cultural significance
- Creating a low-water landscape with efficient irrigation methods
- Educating the community about the history and biodiversity of the region through the garden project
There are two sets of goals for the Heritage Garden project, Learning & Operational Objectives.
- Increase campus knowledge and engagement of sustainable food production and healthy eating
- Create opportunities for engaged learning
- Create opportunities for community engagement
- Education on cultural and environmental history of Albany and the surrounding region
- Create interdisciplinary learning and interaction
- Develop a year-round activity to engage students, faculty, and staff
- Create a self-sustaining entity for management and funding
- Illustrate campus as a living-learning lab
- Demonstrate sustainable practices
- Opportunity for student leadership with faculty/staff mentorship