Campus Student-Run Garden Aims to Promote Earth Week

Photo: Memorial Victory Garden. which is currently being planted by UC Berkeley student groups and community members for an April harvest, is located in front of Evans Hall.
Eddie Rosenbaum/Photo
Memorial Victory Garden. which is currently being planted by UC Berkeley student groups and community members for an April harvest, is located in front of Evans Hall.

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Students have been picking up their gardening gloves and shovels to create a student-run food garden in front of Evans Hall, set to be harvested in April for Earth Week.

Memorial Victory Garden, named in honor of victory gardens citizens planted during World War II, is meant to raise awareness about the benefits of growing your own food, said junior Melissa Smith, a member of the student group Sustainability Team and founder of the garden.

The team, which is dedicated to environmentally friendly food systems, erected the garden in February in conjunction with UC Capital Projects. The garden is across from Memorial Glade, the memorial to student veterans who fought in World War II.

Though temporary, this is the first time that a student-run garden has been implemented in central campus. Its main purpose is to serve as an interactive educational site for Earth Week, said Christine Shaff, communications manager for campus facility services.

"My units focus most of our work on sustainability and improving campus energy and water use," Shaff said. "It complements our efforts."

Construction started last month with the help of donations from the Berkeley community as well as volunteer work from students. Currently about 20 volunteers, including team members and passersby, tend to the garden per day.

"It really is a community place, and I think the funding issue represents that," Smith said. "We have been borrowing tools, people have been really helpful, and now we have a really nice, organic community space."

One of the major donators to the garden was The ReUse People, an environmental nonprofit organization based in Oakland, which provided the garden with the wood needed to build its fence.

"We are always happy to help out with community groups like boy scouts or schools, and we definitely support its creation," said Ron Whittaker, the ReUse People's regional manager for Northern California. "I am a city boy and am all for urban greenery-it's just good for everybody."

Planting is set to begin after spring break.


Contact Genevieve Head-Gordon at [email protected]

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