Planning and implementing a demonstration vegetable garden and urban agriculture project on Penn’s campus.
In September 2011, the Penn Garden successfully completed one full year of growing and has began the next academic year in full force. The growing season ran from mid-April until late-October, and produced over 150 pounds of produce. Produce was split among those who came to workdays. The co-operative aspect allows volunteers to enjoy the direct product of their hard work and also teaches people that even a small, urban vegetable garden can provide considerable subsistence. The Penn Garden group hopes that this will inspire others to grow their own food and learn more about sustainable urban agriculture and food systems.
The Penn Garden Team collaborated with various groups on campus and in Philadelphia. They procured seven large tree stumps from Fairmount Park for a seating area in the middle of the garden, which is useful for organizing volunteers and creating a sense of community and welcoming. Garden waste is composted in the solar composter on site and the nutrient-rich soil produced is then used in the garden beds. The Garden team also constructed a drip irrigation system using the water supply from Rodin College House.
In addition to student volunteers, the Penn Garden has seen numerous volunteers from the greater Penn community, including alumni, students from other universities, students working on campus for the summer, and neighborhood residents. Volunteers are attracted to the garden from numerous sources, from friends, passing by, and from Penn Garden’s participation in the West Philly Gardens Day in September 2010. The Penn Garden also participated in Food Week and the Fall Festival. The Penn Garden recently organized a student leadership board, with six positions, to formalize the group.
Sandra Zhao C'10, Daniel Sanchez SEAS'10, Sam Beattie C'12, Sonja Tonnesen C'10
Rebecca Weide, University Landscape Planner, Facilities and Real Estate Services and Michael Nairn, Landscape Architect, Department of Urban Studies