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Alert icon The BUG Program is currently on hiatus. The BUG program was facilitated by AmeriCorps members from 2009-2015 and part-time Center for Sustainability staff from 2015-2021. This program may be reactivated in the future based on community needs. This page provides an overview of the program. 

Bronco Urban Gardens  

Often referred to as BUG, Bronco Urban Gardens is the food justice initiative of Santa Clara University’s Center for Sustainability, based out of The Forge Garden, and works in solidarity with marginalized neighborhoods, supporting their urban garden projects and spaces, to create hands-on learning experiences for students of all ages and backgrounds, including SCU students. BUG provides technical support and garden-enhanced education that serves to increase ecological literacy and raise nutritional awareness as well as food access.

Support Campuswide Community-Based Learning Initiatives:  BUG provides community-based learning opportunities for undergraduates, which support Arrupe Weekly Engagement, student projects, service learning events, and coursework seeking to fulfill the Experiential Learning for Social Justice (ELSJ) Core requirement.

Build Inclusive Learning Models:  BUG supports engaging learning spaces and inclusive garden-based curriculum for school aged children in underserved schools and marginalized communities of Santa Clara County. 

Explore Food Justice at the Community Level: BUG builds on local partnerships and works in solidarity with surrounding neighborhoods, in order create mutual learning experience that promote inquiry and dialog for more just and sustainable food systems.

Milestones and Community Partners 

In 2009, Santa Clara University’s Environmental Studies Institute ESI collaborated with AmeriCorps (Silicon Valley HealthCorps) and seven other regional organizations to launch the Bronco Urban Gardens (BUG) program.  BUG became a collaborative effort to develop experiential learning opportunities around food justice and promote community food security, health, and environmental literacy with urban gardens.  Over the years BUG has played a role in a range of garden projects, including Comida and Conversacion, Alma Verde After-school Program, El Jardîn de Gardner, and Washington School Garden, as well as developing the one-half acre Forge Garden.  While urban garden projects have varied, BUG invested in creating a community around urban garden education. 

Timeline of BUG milestones

Winter 2009: Breaking ground at The Forge Garden. The Forge Garden was initially one of the Bronco Urban Garden sites. Original Founders Included - Patrick Archie, Leslie Gray, Laurie Laird. 

Summer 2010: Partnered with the City of San Jose to support the Summer Camp at Alma Youth Center. This is 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: 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 placed 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’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.

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. 

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 to address food security for students at SCU.


While the BUG Program is on hiatus, community-based projects centered on environmental education and food security continue through Forge Garden Programs.

The Ignatian Center coordinates with BUG on a variety of student engagement projects, which includes Arrupe Weekly Engagement, our longest running community-based learning for social justice program. 

502 Illinois Avenue, San Jose, CA 95125

BUG partnered with Gardner Academy to coordinate technical, educational and volunteer support for their school garden.  Our partnership included coordinating with teachers and administration, parent leadership as well as the extended care organization on campus.  


BUG delivered a portion of the Forge’s weekly harvest and provides garden-based programming for the women and families living at Homesafe, a transitional housing facility for survivors of domestic violence.  

100 Oak Street, San Jose, CA 95110

BUG partnered with Washington Elementary to coordinate technical, educational and volunteer support for their school garden. Our partnership includes coordinating with teachers and administration, parent leadership as well as CORAL, the extended care organization on campus.