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Community Gardening

SCU faculty and students will work with staff from Sacred Heart Community Service and two community gardening initiatives to develop, implement and evaluate food security programming for the GW community.

In response to the striking inequity in household food security in Silicon Valley, the Environmental Studies Community Gardening project seeks to examine different facets of urban agriculture in the Greater Washington Neighborhood. Faculty members and students work closely with both Sacred Heart Community Service’s La Mesa Verde (LMV) Program and non-profit, Garden2Table. La Mesa Verde is a program devoted to increasing access to healthy food, partly accomplished by growing organic vegetable gardens in participants’ yards. Participants receive raised garden beds that include soil, seeds, and a drip irrigation system, then attend a yearlong course that includes monthly organic gardening classes and mentor visits in order to produce their first bountiful harvest over two growing seasons. Garden2Table is a non-profit devoted to creating a sustainable local food system that builds community, improves access to healthy food, and teaches residents how to cultivate their own fruits and vegetables on their 1-acre urban farm. They harvest and donate fruit from neglected trees, teach garden and nutrition education at local elementary schools and work on policies to facilitate urban agriculture.

Faculty meet weekly with students who work directly with community members to research the potential nutritional, health, economic, social and environmental benefits of home gardens for low-income communities, policies to increase access to urban agriculture in low-income neighborhoods, and the efficacy of fruit gleaning to enhance neighborhood food security.