A growing trend in colleges and universities is the creation of an on-campus garden to use for academic purposes and experiential learning. In recent years, the University at Buffalo (UB) has been continuously making strides towards improving its overall sustainability. In partnership, UB Campus Dining and Shops (CDS) is also working hard at furthering the University’s sustainable goals. With the support of both CDS and the University, the introduction of permaculture principles to the campus in the form of a community garden will enhance both education and awareness of sustainable practices present on campus. The garden, is a great opportunity to increase student engagement in the University’s sustainability efforts by providing a valuable opportunity for service. Engagement with the garden will connect the surrounding community to the University. With community support, the garden will be a valuable asset for the University for years to come. The garden will be a local source of goods for CDS, decreasing the need for certain outside food sources, as well as an eventual donor of produce to the local community.
The purpose of the garden will be to connect students, faculty and the community through experiential learning and practice. The garden will be a model of sustainability and by being accessible and highly visible; it will contribute to the advancement of the University at Buffalo and Campus Dining & Shops’ sustainability efforts.
The students and faculty comprising our committee have a vision to, in collaboration with Campus Dining and Shops, engage five percent of all on-campus student volunteer hours through the Campus Garden. In 2012, UB’s Center for Student Learning and Civic Engagement (CSLCE) logged 42,455 hours of service, making it our goal to generate at least 2,123 hours. With that in mind, we view the Campus Garden as a valuable tool to educate students living in and around the residential dining facilities featured on campus about the importance of locally grown produce.