The Forge Garden
The Forge Garden is Santa Clara University’s ½ acre edible organic garden and hub for sustainable food system education. Established in 2008, the Forge has committed to serve the campus as a space for course research, service learning, and sustainable food production.
The Forge Garden strives to grow fresh local produce for students, staff, faculty and our surrounding community. The garden serves as a living laboratory for all academic departments across the university and is a great way for students get hands on experience. Dozens of academic courses utilize the Forge each quarter, bringing students to the garden for labs, tours, lectures, and observation.
The Forge Garden currently has six chickens, four beehives, a 400 sq.ft. greenhouse, a compost center, over 20 fruit trees, over 15,000 sq ft of garden beds, a public commons, an aquaponic system and the 2007 solar decathlon house used as an office.
The garden is open 5 days-a-week for public engagement. There are service learning opportunities year-round, a weekly farm stand, a large variety of workshops, and special events. Dozens of academic courses utilize the Forge each quarter, bringing students to the garden for labs, tours, lectures, and observation.
Are you interested in getting involved at The Forge Garden? Here are 8 ways:
- Drop by our donation based Farm Stand every Friday 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM for the freshest vegetables in Santa Clara.
- Get your hands dirty during volunteer hours every Wednesday 12 PM to 4 PM and Fridays 9 -11 AM.
- Swing by our weekly Forge Friday event Series for students every Friday from 3 to 4:30 PM which include everything from gourd painting, to learning to make your own sprouts to meditation in the garden. Check our calendar for details.
- Attend a workshop on gardening, cooking or crafting.
- Sign up for ENVS 196 - Urban Agriculture Practicum offered to undergraduates in Fall and Spring to learn the practical skills needed for farming in an urban environment.
- Apply for an internship. Student internships generally open up in late spring for the following academic year.
- Complete your ELSJ requirement by serving at one of our BUG Sites.
- Stay up to date! Follow us on social media and join our newsletter.
Pounds of produce harvested
Pounds of produce donated to Homesafe
Pounds of produce sold to SCU Dining Services
Number of Farm Stand visitors
Where does the produce go?
Every week, produce is available at our donation-based farm stand from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. The Farm Stand is open to all with a suggested donation price of $2 per lb. Our policy is to pay what you can. We accept cash and check.
The Forge Garden also sells one type of item to SCU Dining Services which is featured in student meals at The Marketplace in the Benson Memorial Center.
Additionally, we donate produce to the Homesafe women’s transitional housing center.
“I remember when I first saw The Forge Garden. We had just moved from the Midwest, and I was feeling out of touch with the local food system and overwhelmed trying to grow a small garden in a new climate. And in the year and a half since, The Forge Garden has not only been a great jumping-off place to connect with the local food system and build a backyard garden, it has fed my family, let my daughter pick its strawberries, provided flowers for our kitchen table, and always given so generously of all it has in food, in knowledge, in community. I am continually grateful for The Forge garden and the people that make it the kind, living place it is.” - Community member Lindsey Witlock
Intern Program: In Spring Quarter of 2016 we launched our first ever intern program. The Forge Garden Internship is designed to teach students not only urban agriculture skills but also to be student leaders within the SCU community. Interns pick an area of interest to specialize in for the quarter, such as compost or greenhouse management. The intern team meets biweekly to discuss readings on various urban agriculture topics such as Integrated Pest Managements and Crop Rotation. Interns share their knowledge with student volunteers during the drop-in volunteer hours. Interns design, promote and lead the Forge Friday event series which is geared towards students.
“It’s amazing how much there is to know in the garden and it’s so exciting to just keep gathering more and more tips & tools. I also really love being able to share what I’ve learned with the volunteers and farm stand patrons. I’ve learned so much this year; being able to work alongside Katharine and have more hours in the garden has really helped me find my passions and what I actually want to do when I grow up." - Allison Carmody, Greenhouse Management Intern
Workshops: Our workshops focus on the urban agriculture skills, cooking and garden crafts. If you have an idea for a workshop, let us know!
Past workshops included:
- Container Gardening with Herbs
- Growing a winter garden
- Garden Gifts for the Holiday
- Gardening for native bees
- Herbs to Cure the Common Cold
- Lip Balm and Herbal Salves
- Academic engagement
Forge Fridays Event Series are weekly student events held every Friday from 3:00-4:30 PM. Events include: Succulent pots, Make your own sun tea, guided meditation, Farm to Fork: Salvadorian food, Color-Your-Way-to-Calm, flower crown-making, open garden jam sessions and more!
Academics: The Forge Garden is utilized as an outdoor classroom, research space, and living laboratory.
Academic Departments and Programs that have held classes at The Forge Garden:
- Environmental Studies and Sciences
- Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries
- Liberal Studies
- Public Health Science
- Religious Studies
- Theatre & Dance
“The Comparative Religion and Environmentalism course (RSOC 64) visited The Forge Garden as a class, plus as one of several options for environmentally engaged learning for an environmental field report assignment. The garden class session in Winter 2016 offered students an opportunity to pull cover crops and plant seeds, participating in living systems after weeks of considering environmentally sustainable activities in religious communities. In Spring 2016, the class welcomed Buddhist guest speakers for an introduction to mindful sitting and walking practices, which were all the more relevant and relatable in such an inspiring, richly textured, verdant place where people, animals, plants, bees, beneficial insects, and soil microorganisms all find nourishment." - Sarah Robinson, Adjunct Lecturer, Religious Studies
The Forge Garden engages the community through a variety of workshops, events, and programs. The garden organizes several quarterly workshops about a variety of gardening and farming topics, acts as a program hub for Bronco Urban Gardens, serves as an Arrupe Engagement site for the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education's community-based learning objective,and hosts other service-learning and team-building activities.
The garden also participates in special events related to Food Day, Campus Sustainability Day, and Alumni Service Day, as well as hosting annual programs like plant sales, the Fall Harvest Party, Spring Open House, and the Sustainability Celebration & Champion Awards.
Forge Advisory Board: 2015-16 marked the first year of The Forge Advisory Board. The advisory board consists of faculty, staff and students that are committed to The Forge Garden mission. The goal of the advisory board is to to promote and advocate for The Forge Garden in SCU community and to support mission and plans of the Forge Garden. The board has helped make discussions about workshops held at The Forge, the workplan for the student interns and farm stand pricing structure.
Volunteering: Nothing beats a quiet afternoon in the garden! Drop by The Forge Garden for open volunteer hours. All are welcome. Possible activities include planting winter crops, building compost piles, spreading mulch, harvesting and seeding in the greenhouse. Come ready to work with sturdy shoes, a hat, sunscreen, a water bottle and clothes that can get dirty. Questions? Contact Katharine at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you in the garden!
- Erin originally started volunteering at The Forge as a part of class assignment with Critical Thinking & Writing. After volunteering a couple times she became a Forge regular. She started attending all the Forge events such as the Harvest Party and Garden Gifts for the Holidays workshop. She brought her friends to Forge Friday events. She even became a sustainability liaison! As written in her Critical Thinking & Writing essay on her experience at The Forge she wrote:
“Because of the opportunities and relationships I forged at the garden, I have now found a way to give back to my community, practice sustainability and find fulfillment within myself.” - Erin Fox '19
Service Groups: Is your group looking to get outside, learn a new skill, and bond over worms? Contact us at email@example.com if you would like to schedule a volunteer service group. We work with RLCs, on campus staff departments, student clubs, local high schools and other interested groups.
Best Buddies program: The Forge Garden and SCCAP have partnered with Santa Clara County Office of Education students with disabilities. Students work alongside young adults with disabilities in the garden 2 days a week. Volunteer tasks included mulching, sweeping, and weeding. Each quarter ends with a garden party celebration.
Forge Highlights from the Sustainability Update
Events & Workshops
Wednesdays, 12pm-4pm, Friday Harvest 9am-11am
Other times by appointment only
Weekly Farm Stand:
For groups of 5 or more who would like to volunteer at the forge, please email firstname.lastname@example.org after viewing available times on the calendar.
Forge Garden Location
Follow the Forge Garden
Facebook: The Forge Garden