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Forge Garden History 

Summer 2003: The Anthropology Department conducted an archaeological field study and discovered the remains of the late 19th-early 20th-century blacksmith shop owned and operated by Samuel Day. The blacksmith shop's origins inspired the name of the Forge. 

Winter 2009: Breaking ground at the Forge Garden. The Forge Garden was initially one of the Bronco Urban Garden (BUG) sites. Original Founders Included - Patrick Archie, Leslie Gray, Laurie Laird. Santa Clara University's Environmental Studies Institute launched the Bronco Urban Gardens (BUG) Program in 2009 to develop experiential learning opportunities around food justice and promote community food security, health, and environmental literacy.

BUG sites are garden-based educational hubs at urban schools and after-school programs primarily in San Jose's underserved Alma, Gardner, and Washington neighborhoods. The BUG program was facilitated by AmeriCorps members from 2009-2015 and part-time Center for Sustainability staff from 2015-2021. This program is currently on hiatus but may be reactivated in the future based on community needs.

Summer 2010: Partnership with the City of San Jose begins to support the Summer Camp at Alma Youth Center, staffed by Americorps members. BUG Farm begins on the property of Catalan Family Farm in Hollister. The need to support elementary school children outside of Alma Center is identified as a result of summer camp, and Alma Verde is created.

Spring 2011: A greenhouse is built at The Forge Garden. Decisions were made about discontinuing BUG at some sites. 

Spring 2012: Programming out of Forge is strengthened and Arrupe placement is created (connecting with Homesafe). The 2007 Solar Decathlon house is installed at the Forge Garden. The Forge and BUG sites/programs became part of the Center for Sustainability. With the new absorption, all programs were aligned with the Center for Sustainability’s vision, mission, and goals. The Forge Garden formalized its program for SCU students, faculty, and staff. Bronco Urban Gardens (BUG) grew its outreach program strategy.

Winter 2013-Summer 2015: The Forge Garden master plan is created. The master plan implemented the development and installation of walkways among 49 organic raised beds, an orchard, a compost center, a chicken coop, and an apiary. 

Spring 2016: The Forge Apprenticeship program was created. 

“I love watching the life cycles of the plants in the garden over time. I think it’s really cool to be able to plant the seeds in the greenhouse and see it through all the way to when the plant fruits and then start flowering and needs to be pulled out.” - Forge Apprentice 2017

Fall 2017: The first Forge Garden Club meeting occurred. 

Spring 2017: ELSJ Component added to ENVS 191EL: Urban Agriculture Practicum taught by Katharine Rondthaler. Students in the course complete their experiential learning component of the class at the BUG sites. 

Spring 2018: Outdoor Kitchen Finished. Master plan completed.  

“We developed the outdoor kitchen because we believe an educated young adults should be able to prepare a healthy meal for themselves, ideally in a sustainable way.”

Summer 2018: The first summer internship program was launched.

Spring 2019: The Glean Team was created. The Forge Logo was Created in ART 75/175 by student Nikki Dully

Winter 2019: BUG 100-hour Internship was created.

Spring 2020: The COVID-19 global pandemic interrupts standard campus operations. During the pandemic, typical garden-based activities were transformed into the Resiliency Bags Program to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable community members. 

Fall 2021 - Present: The BUG Program is placed on hiatus.

Spring 2022: Becca Nelson became the Forge Garden Manager and the Nourish Nights program was launched.


Also visit Center for Sustainability History.