Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.45
Liaison Justin Mog
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Louisville
IN-7: Community Garden

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Justin Mog
Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives
Office of the Provost
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

A brief description of the institution’s community garden:

Since 2010, the University of Louisville has hosted several community gardens where the public are welcome to grow their own food and learn alongside students, faculty, and staff.

The largest community garden is the Garden Commons at the southwest corner of Strickler Hall, adjacent to the Biology Department's Harriet A. Korfhage Native Plant Garden. It is a community space for learning about organic urban agriculture, more sustainable food systems, and building resilient community. The Garden Commons is open to participation throughout the year from students, staff, faculty, and community members. Everyone who helps out is welcome to share in the harvest. People can visit, work, and harvest at any time, but the Sustainability Council's Garden Interns host weekly group workdays and a series of practical, hands-on monthly workshops about organic gardening, agriculture, permaculture, and food justice. Several sustainable urban farming and permaculture practices are in use at the garden, including:
1. Rainwater capture from the roof for irrigation in a rain barrel;
2. Composting to generate organic fertilizer in two large bins where you can toss your food scraps and organics (no meat, bones, or dairy products, please);
3. Ten raised beds and several in-ground beds
4. A perennial herb spiral;
5. Perennial berries (serviceberry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and strawberry) and asparagus; and
6. An outdoor classroom space.

The Urban & Public Affairs (UPA) Horticulture Zone has been growing food & community behind UofL's Urban Studies Institute (426 W. Bloom St.) since ground-breaking on May 22nd, 2013. It is an initiative of the Urban & Public Affairs Student Organization, with funding provided by both the Student Organization and the Department of Urban & Public Affairs. The students were inspired to take an under-utilized small lawn on the south side of the building and turn it into a living, productive, and engaging “Horticulture Zone.” What had once been an uninviting patch of grass that had to be mowed regularly with fossil fuels was transitioned into an inviting outdoor gathering space beside our historic apple tree. The space is used to grow fresh, delicious produce available to the community in our mini orchard (peach, apple, fig, and native serviceberry, pawpaw, hazelnuts, and maypops) and in four raised beds filled with rich, organic compost made by volunteers on campus from food waste collected both on and off campus. UPA students worked with Physical Plant’s grounds team to develop a site design that includes four hand-built planter beds with benches, sinuous paths, two compost bins, five rain barrels to capture water from the roof for irrigation, native shade-tolerant plants for areas under the canopy, and nitrogen-fixing red clover no-mow areas inspired by the Air Pollution Control District’s “Grow More, Mow Less” campaign which was run at the time by UPA graduate, Eric Burnett. With the relocation of the Garden Commons in 2020 to a smaller site, the greenhouse was relocated to the UPA Horticulture Zone. This large, season-extending greenhouse features solar panels to power the ventilation fans. The UPA Horticulture Zone is an all-volunteer project open to participation from anyone in the community.

Preschool children at UofL's Early Learning Campus on W. Bloom Street learn about gardening from seed to harvest. The facility has featured a roof garden and greenhouse with vegetable beds since its opening. Once the UPA Horticulture Zone was created across the street in 2013, the children have been taken on regular field trips to help plant seeds and taste the harvest. In spring 2016, UofL's lacrosse team helped install additional raised beds around the street-level outdoor play area so that kids can watch things grow as they play each day. The Early Learning Campus is part of the Gladys and Lewis "Sonny" Bass Louisville Scholar House Campus and is an exemplary early child development center for children of UofL faculty, staff and students, and residents of the Louisville Scholar House. The facility is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and offers full day curriculum for children aged six weeks to four years.

In 2011, dedicated staff at LEED Gold certified Center for Predictive Medicine on UofL's Shelby campus planted a "Birthday" Garden to provide fresh produce to take the place of cake and ice cream celebrations for employees. Staff and researchers at the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory enjoy a bountiful harvest and have replanted each year. The abundance of produce has prompted staff to host fun related events such as chili cook-offs and pesto parties. The garden has expanded over the years and now includes a compost bin, raised beds made from repurposed pallets, and a vertical herb garden.

Website URL where information about the community garden is available:
Estimated number of individuals that use the institution’s community garden annually:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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