In summer 2012, we started a small pilot project to see if a group of CSUSM students could turn an unused road into a class-based garden. Eight years later, we have an expanding organic garden yielding produce and demonstrating a variety of systems for growing vegetables. The project has served over 2000 students at this point who now make use of the food project through four different classes in geography and environmental studies. And the project has expanded its efforts by forging ties withe the Cougar Pantry in order to address student basic needs and on-going research into campus food security and food literacy.
This far exceeds the original intent of the project which was to grow food as part of the learning and class activities in Geography 460: Food Systems and Emerging Markets. The garden is much more than just a class activity today. As students are responsible for building and farming the garden, they are gaining hands-on experience in the integration of experiential learning with curriculum -- an amazing opportunity for everyone involved. Students in this class are active learners inquiring into the variety and diversity of school and community gardens while also uncovering the structure and functioning of the global food system and experiencing frequent and regular interactions with the environment in San Marcos, and of course also growing food for themselves and the wider CSUSM community.
The CSUSM Garden Club was founded in 2017 in order to educate more students in the ways of sustainable living, as well as promote gardening as an fun hobby. The club has been merged into the Environmental Stewards Association but the group still maintains a regular schedule in the food project. To find out more about student efforts, visit the Environmental Stewards Association at Cal State San Marcos.
The Food Project wouldn't be as successful as it is today without the generous help and assistance of donors, volunteers, and numerous supporters over many years.
Our supporters are providing critical in-kind contributions, advice and support, and resources. If you are interested in becoming a supporter or finding out more about the Food Project or the CSUSM Garden Club, please contact Professor Greig Tor Guthey for more information.