As the Irvine city council election comes closer it is more important than ever that a topic of discussion is sustainability and everyone who is running has some views on it.
Sustainability can no longer be seen in a vacuum. What we need are candidates who have holistic plans to uplift members of the community in a sustainable manner. Similar to what these community gardens are doing in their capacity. Today we will be looking at the UC Irvine Garden Project that is using community gardens as a laboratory for teaching sustainability, community engagement, and professional development.
This project began as a project to help facilitate collaboration and communication between different campuses but it has now evolved to become a link to the broader community all around. The program is promoting sustainable food production especially to cater to low-income communities.
Here are the different community gardens you can make your way to learn more about the project.
Ants In Your Plants Garden
The ants in your plants garden or the Arroyo vista garden is managed by students from the Sustainability Resource Center. Their aim is to raise awareness and advocacy around different sustainability themed topics. Their events usually center around environmental justice, waste management, energy efficiency, and recycling.
This garden has a greenhouse, over 40 plots, and even an orchard. You can volunteer with them to know more about food systems. If you don’t want to volunteer, they also have various workshops throughout the year.
The surplus produce from the garden is donated to the FRESH Basic Needs Hub which is located on campus.
Anthill Village Community Garden
With about 100 people on the waiting list for a plot, this is one of the oldest and most popular community gardens in Irvine. Established in 1985, it sits along an anteater drive between Palo Verde Road and California Avenue on the Campus.
The 12×16 feet plots are maintained by the ASUCI student club. They follow a stringent set of guidelines that focus primarily on organic farming. All the waste generated is collected by the University Hills Ground Crew and disposed of in a sustainable manner. Current students, faculty, and staff are on a 24-month waiting list and all others on a 5-year waiting list.
Palo Verde Organic Garden
This is a community garden that is open to and is run by the residents of the Palo Verde graduate housing complex. This garden is completely organic so there are no commercial pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers that are permitted in the organic. With just 30 plots it is another really hard to get into to maintain. Plots are reassigned throughout the year as most people maintaining the gardens are students and their dissertations tend to catch up to them.
The rules to operate are simple, everyone needs to pitch to help with the weeding of commonplaces, keeping the areas clean, and keeping the plots clean and well maintained. It is a community effort so if one person lets their plot wither everyone is affected.
Verano Place Community Garden
This place is maintained by graduate students. Another organic-only garden, this garden acts as a communal setting for people to come together and discuss more about gardening. It is a place for people who like gardening to come together and share knowledge. It is also a great opportunity to promote sustainability as you grow your produce locally. All the waste is recycled and the produce is donated to community kitchens.
Sustainable Polyculture Project
Run by local community members of eco apprentices and agroecology researchers to identify what beginners need to be able to run a sustainable venture. A Polyculture is a mutually dependent group of self-seeding and perennial annual plants that thrive with next to no outside interference.
There are new projects that keep coming into the limelight as time passes. Sustainability needs to be at the forefront if we want to continue to thrive. Gardening itself is a sustainable activity. But if you really want to reap the benefits of sustainability you need to be consistent and adopt practices as a community, Significant benefits include both health and monetary aspects. SO. make your way to any of these gardens to have a look at how some of us are moving towards the future in a sustainable manner.