Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.76
Liaison Mike Versteege
Submission Date Oct. 10, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

University of Alberta
ER-T2-2: Organic Garden

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 0.25 Lisa Dockman
Program Lead (Outreach & Engagement)
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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:


Situated at Campus Saint-Jean in Edmonton, the community garden is the essence of sustainable development. It opened officially on June 8, 2006 as a collaboration between staff of Campus Saint-Jean, the Résidence Saint-Jean and residents of the Bonnie Doon neighbourhood. The garden was funded in part by the City of Edmonton, the Community Garden Network (Edmonton), the University of Alberta and Campus Saint-Jean. They garden organically and in an environmentally sustainable way. No pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers are used. They compost garden waste and practice water conservation. A non-refundable fee of $10 per plot is required to reserve a plot. The fees are used to cover the purchase of materials and equipment for the garden. Plots are assigned on a first come, first served basis at the beginning of the garden season. Priority is given to employees and students of the Campus Saint-Jean when plots become available. Gardeners in good standing may apply to have the same plot every year. The Executive Committee includes a coordinator (this person must be a member of Campus Saint-Jean), a secretary, a compost manager, a maintenance manager and an equipment and supplies manager/treasurer. The Executive Committee meets once a month from March to June. We have 35 gardeners and 36 plots, one of which is dedicated to herbs and perennials.


Sustain SU (previously known as ECOS) initiated the Campus Community Garden in collaboration with the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG) during the spring of 2003. This organic, shared-plot garden is located on North Campus and uses as many sustainable agricultural practices as possible in order to showcase sustainable gardening techniques. The garden is approximately 300 square meters and located a few blocks from the University on the north side of 89th avenue, between 110th and 111th Street.

In addition to creating nature connected recreational opportunities for students, the mandate of the garden is to:
- Promote local, organic food production by producing food in a sustainable manner, without the use of pesticides, chemicals or genetically modified plants.
- Provide the campus community with an opportunity to apply classroom knowledge within a living laboratory.
- Provide organic, local, fresh and healthy food for garden volunteers and the wider Edmonton community through either the Campus food bank or similar programs, promoting food security.
- Promote neighbourly involvement and social interaction as means of establishing strong, resilient communities.

Students, staff, and community members are all welcome to participate in this garden project. Garden volunteers are responsible for preparing, planting, maintaining, and harvesting the garden. The level of experience in gardening ranges from first-time planters to dedicated gardeners. Since volunteers learn directly from seasoned gardeners and through organized gardening sessions, volunteer training is ongoing. Sustain SU hires a garden coordinator in the spring to provide support and knowledge to the volunteers. The garden coordinator also organizes several educational sessions over the summer that provides information on gardening techniques and management.


The Green & Gold Community Garden cultivates two acres of land on the University of Alberta’s South Campus. Supported by the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, and School of Public Health, the garden is run by volunteers from the university and nearby communities. Most of the garden tools, equipment, plants and seeds have been donated. We use compost from the university’s dairy and poultry research units as fertilizer, and mulch from straw grown on the university farm. Crop rotation and organic gardening practices are used (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers).

During market hours, from July through October, garden produce (vegetables, herbs and flowers) is made available to volunteers and community members in exchange for a donation. All donations for produce are sent to Tubahumurize, a women’s counseling, health and vocational training association in Rwanda. The women who benefit from Tubahumurize include survivors of the Rwandan genocide, widows, orphans, women infected with HIV, and victims of domestic violence. The garden started in 2009 and has raised over $100,000 for Tubahumurize. This is seen as a “local garden with global impact”.


Prairie Urban Farm is a one-acre, mixed crop, sustainable food system being developed this spring at the University of Alberta’s South Campus. Their goals are to demonstrate an alternative, regenerative food system, to provide our campus and community with locally grown food, to create skill-building opportunities in sustainable food production, and to conduct experimental research on various aspects of sustainable agriculture.

By implementing sustainable agriculture processes into their long-term design they hope to demonstrate what a regenerative food system looks like. These processes include planting guilds to increase beneficial interactions between crops and other species, and water retention channels to reduce our need for outside irrigation. By growing a regenerative urban food system, creating skill-building and sharing opportunities for the community, and providing research opportunities in sustainable agriculture, the Prairie Urban Farm grows food security and community resiliency.

The website URL where information about the garden is available:

Information on the Campus Saint Jean Community Garden provided by Marie-Claude Levert.

Information on Sustain SU’s Campus Community Garden provided by Stefanie Drozda. Website: http://www.su.ualberta.ca/services/sustainsu/garden/

Information on the Green & Gold Community Garden provided by Leigh-Ann Topher.
Website: http://bit.ly/greenandgold_garden

Information on the Prairie Urban Farm provided by Nicole Martin.
Website: http://www.prairieurbanfarm.ca

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.