Straddling bales of hay and munching on organic snacks, nearly 70 students, faculty and staff suggested ideas for Santa Clara’s community garden at a design party led by landscape architect Al Green. The Oct. 23 event kicked off a new academic year planning and planting at the now-empty space one block north of campus.
Volunteers with Americorps, along with other donated labor, will work throughout the next year to turn the plot of land at the corner of Sherman and Benton streets into a space suitable for outdoor classrooms, event space and crop beds. Those involved hope the transformation will boost community involvement in sustainability and serve as an example to schools in the area who wish to start their own garden.
With a stopwatch around his neck, Green solicited design ideas, both big and small, from his audience. Green houses, outdoor kitchens and a windmill were some of the more popular suggestions. The crowd agreed that enough space for planting needed to be set aside from the start. A path throughout the garden was also a must.
The plot is officially called the Forge, a nod to the blacksmith’s shop from the 19th century that inhabited the space until nearly 100 years ago. Several classes throughout the last year and half have already planted crops in the area.
For now, volunteers are spending Wednesday and Sunday afternoons working at the site to install long north-south beds of cover crops to rehabilitate soil. The strips will be cut into smaller beds in the spring as the design process moves along. All students are welcome to volunteer at the garden.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
View a slideshow of photos taken by Chris Woodhouse, SCU '10, and Rochelle Stowe, SCU '10