|Submission Date||Feb. 11, 2011|
Portland State University
Tier2-2: Organic Garden
Sustainability Leadership and Outreach Coordinator
Does the institution have an on-campus garden where students are able to gain organic farming and/or gardening experience?:
A brief description of the garden:
PSU has a variety of gardens that fit the description requested for this credit.
Community Garden - The Community Garden holds forty-eight plots that are first allocated to individual students who live in PSU's residence halls. Off-campus students, staff, and faculty are given the opportunity to apply for plots if they are not completely allocated to student residents.
The garden features a variety of community areas which include a large wheelchair-accessible plot, a native plant demonstration, and a sandbox for children. The garden coordinators have also implemented a successful three-step composting system and organize a variety of garden workshops. Coordinator Morgan Weber was given the “Outstanding New Student Leader” award by PSU’s Student Activities and Leadership Programs (SALP) for the 2008-09 school year. Students working in the garden were also featured in PSU's "Go Green" poster campaign. These colorful posters have highlighted this sustainability feature of the campus.
President’s Garden – In 2009, students in PSU’s Permaculture and Whole Systems Design class created and installed an organic permaculture garden at our President’s home. The garden included vegetables and herbs that were chosen by the students and the President’s family. This garden project was featured in the President’s introductory letter letter in PSU Magazine later in the year. Plans for replanting and installation of a drip system are currently being set for spring of 2010.
Native Garden – The Environmental Club has managed a native garden since the 1990s. The garden strip spans an entire city block and is located next to a well-used sidewalk. The garden features plants that are found in Oregon, a nurse log, signage indicating the names of most plants, a dry streambed, and a nurse log with mosses.
Learning Garden – The Learning Garden Laboratory (LGL) is a 12-acre garden education site located in Southeast Portland that provides K-12, university students and community members hands-on and place-based education in sustainable gardening, healthy nutrition, and permaculture. Education at LGL supports improved academic achievement, leadership development, and the development of sustainable local food systems. Established in 2005, LGL exists as a unique partnership between Portland State University, Portland Public Schools, Portland Parks and Recreation, and Oregon State University Extension Service.
The Learning Gardens Lab serves as model of community-based education focused on a hands-on and practical learning tool: the garden. Through garden-based education and outreach, this site serves Lane Middle School students, PSU students, SUN Program participants, Community Transition School students, OSU Extension Service horticulture students and Master Gardeners, and more.
Graduate students enrolled in Portland State University’s Leadership in Ecology, Culture and Learning (LECL) Program facilitate weekly garden-based science curriculum for Lane Middle School students in collaboration with our science teacher partners from Lane. Over 200 Lane Middle School students from diverse racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds receive instruction each week; they learn through direct, hands-on experience the process of growing and harvesting food, the science of cooking with whole foods, and the importance of good nutrition and eating habits. Perhaps most importantly, students learn to appreciate the interconnection and complexity of our natural world.
Graduate Assistants from the LECL program also coordinate a Multicultural Family Learning Garden for Lane Middle School families who are learning to grow their own food. In addition, PSU Graduate Assistants and interns harvest produce from LGL and deliver it to Lane Middle School where it is distributed to families who need it through our partnership with the Lane SUN (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods) School. PSU also offers senior Capstone service-learning classes in partnership with LGL including Environmental Education through a Native American Lens, Grant Writing for the Environment, Sustainable Food Systems, and Learning Gardens and Civic Affairs. Additionally, many PSU courses require Community-Based Learning and our site is one where these volunteer hours can be fulfilled. In addition to these educational opportunities, our partners from Oregon State University’s Extension Service demonstrate sustainable, organic gardening techniques at LGL through the Organic Gardening Certification Program, and train and mentor students from the Community Transition Center, a Portland Public School on site, in horticulture.
Permaculture Demonstration Garden – At the southwest corner of Smith Student Union, students maintain a demonstration garden which includes three raised beds, two composters, an herb spiral, a rainwater catchment demonstration, and signage. The area also features a cob oven and dialogue dome. These projects were started by students and were the first natural building structures on campus. Constructed mostly of cob and refurbished local materials, a cob oven, and a dome shelter with an eco-roof. The purpose of the structure is to build community and encourage conversations about sustainability.
The website URL where information about the garden is available: