After three years of hard work, students from the Associated Students Department of Public Worms, Associated Students Food Bank, and UCSB Sustainability, are seeing their dreams coming to life. Conceptual drawings created by Landscape Architect, Kim True, have been recently released for feedback from the broader UCSB community and can be found here: http://www.sustainability.ucsb.edu/campus-farm/. Foundational support for this project comes from the Johnson Ohana Foundation, UC Global Food Initiative, The Green Initiative Fund, The Associated Students Coastal Fund, and the Associated Students Department of Public Worms.
Students envisioned a farm where students could grow fresh fruits and vegetables and distribute that food to students who cannot afford healthy options. The vast majority of food grown at the student farm will be donated to the Associated Students Food Bank (ASFB), one of the project’s founding partners. Currently the ASFB, serves 1,300 students per week (a 23% increase from the prior quarter). As awareness of ASFB increases, we expect the number of students served to continue to increase.
The farm will also serve to reconnect students to the land, our food system, and to the broader ecosystem that we all live in. Founding partner, Associated Students Department of Public Worms (AS DPW), make compost from food waste on campus. They hope to show students that food waste can be used to replenish our soils and grow new fruits and vegetables. Central to the planning of the farm is our commitment to sustainable agriculture and permaculture practices. In the middle of the farm will be a multi-layered permaculture forest that will incorporate trees, bushes, and plants closer to the ground. We will use companion planting techniques, where plants that support each other will be planted together. For example, a plant that fixes Nitrogen will be planted next to plants that are heavy users of Nitrogen.
We are excited to engage people from throughout the campus and local community in maintaining the farm and in harvesting. We are developing partnerships with faculty on campus to bring their classes to the farm, reaching out to student organizations who may want to host events at the space or partner on community service days, and raising funding to support student interns to use the farm space as a starting point for a broader conversation around food justice.
On April 19th, 2017, the Edible Campus program will be co-hosting Kelly Carlisle, Executive Director of Acta Non Verba (ANV) with Pan African Student Union (PASU). ANV is a community garden in Oakland, CA that “elevates life in the inner city by challenging oppressive dynamics and environments through urban farming.” The Edible Campus Program is excited for Ms. Carlisle to share her experiences from running ANV and to learn from the best practices of her community. The event will be 6:00pm-7:00pm in McCune Conference Room.