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University Gardens

Joining underprivileged populations around universities to support sustainability, healthy living and community togetherness.

Photo of Veronica Zehnder18
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

University Gardens is a program that universities around the country can adopt to bridge the gap between the institutions and the surrounding areas. This program would be easily adoptable by universities and would provide information about how to set up the garden, as well as advertisement materials to be posted in the surrounding area. This would incorporate the cities, towns and neighborhoods into the culture of the university. The community garden would also serve as a recreational and educational space as classes focused on agriculture, sustainability and the environment would be involved in the growing space. The challenge this idea is addressing is the lack of connection between universities and the surrounding areas. Often the drastic socioeconomic disparity between these populations produces an uncomfortable dynamic. The garden would ideally be supported financially by the university and would be run by the school. The space would provide educational purposes for hands on learning and community outreach.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The target group is homeless people or those in poverty around university campuses. Poverty and homelessness reduce the amount of produce and healthy food options available. The community garden’s human connectivity also serves to heal relations between communities and universities. The students and those involved in the universities can also benefit from the unity and educational space this program provides. When students and those involved in the school can give back, they feel good and are able to do something productive for the community.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

This idea is unique from existing initiatives and community gardens because it incorporates the communities the most. Many gardens exist, but few are as multipurpose as the University Gardens. Maximising inclusion, increases the success of the project, because there are more people pushing for its success.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

This organization provides the building blocks for universities to adopt the community garden.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we plan to register in the future.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

This project is being done as my Environmental Science class final project. We were told to come up with an idea that would help promote the environmental consciousness and help people based on the concepts we have learned this year. I was inspired by the college tours I went on this year and the juxtaposition between several universities and their surroundings.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

The Peace of the areas surrounding universities can be disrupted by the frequent economic disparities between the two groups. The prosperity of the homeless and those in poverty has also been damaged because of their financial state. Those who are economically disadvantaged, have difficulty affording the healthiest of foods, also impacting the prosperity of these people and the planet.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

A crucial participant in the project is the universities. The initiative must be taken by colleges to incorporate University Garden’s program into their curriculum and campus. This engagement will be healing and benefit the agricultural education of the students. Other community gardens at several universities already exist. The garden for the University of San Francisco is a ⅛ acre plot that is used for educational purposes as well as community outreach. However, the garden does not include the community in growing the food, but rather harvests the food, prepared dishes for those in poverty and then distributes. The University of Redlands also has a community garden with a fee to plant for alumnae and community members.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

The community my project will serve is strong because of its diversity. While obviously, the gardens aim at feeding the hungry, the garden also serves university students and administrators. This diverse group of people increases the motivation that will be behind this project.

Geographic Focus

Universities in the United States

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

A community garden could be created within 2 months and the University Gardens organization could create materials and instructions within 2 months.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of My Nguyen

Veronica, I love that your idea steamed from observations during college tours. Great things to consider for all college students who are looking at the best fit for schools. The income disparity seen between some communities and major colleges is always interesting to look at. I wonder if communities see any tax benefits from the schools. Having a garden and space for people at the universities and local community members to get together and work along side each other is a great way for them to get to know each other and build empathy. People are much more willing to help when they are invested in a community. I would like to see more of a plan of what you had in mind. what would be advertised to get the idea going? How would the community get this started? Love the idea.

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