In summer 2012, we started out a small pilot project to see if a group of CSUSM students could turn an unused road bed, compacted 95%, into a class-based community garden yielding organic produce and demonstrating a variety of systems for growing vegetables. Over the year, 37 students worked on the project, building the fence, the raised beds, weeding and most importantly growing food for themselves.
The intent of the project is to grow food as part of the learning and class activities in Geography 460: Food Systems and Emerging Markets. We have succeeded beyond expectations in this regard. At the same time, the garden is much more than just a class activity. 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 both future teachers and gardeners alike. 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. This sort of learning should prove immensely important for our future teachers in the class who will run into school gardens during their careers.
The Sustainable Food Project has now run successfully for eight continuous semesters and continues to grow in popularity. The CSUSM Garden Club was founded in 2017 in order to educate students in the ways of sustainable living, as well as promote gardening as an inviting hobby to partake in. The club has meetings every Thursday beginning at 12pm in the garden.
The Food Project wouldn't be successful without the generous help and assistance of donors, volunteers, and numerous supporters.
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.