Hello world!

20 Apr

Hi all!  Welcome to the Penn Garden blog.  This is where you can go to stay posted on what’s going on at the Garden.

But what is this garden of which you speak?

Penn Garden was established this year.  As its name implies, it is a space where we grow various fruits, vegetables, and other plants.  Everything grown in Penn Garden is organic, meaning that no artificial chemicals or fertilizers are used.  Anyone is welcome and encouraged to help out on the garden, and reep the benefits of their help (a.k.a. come harvest time the people who helped get to eat some of the produce).  It’s free, fun, and dirty, so certainly try and get involved!

Do you need any prior experience to help out on the Garden?

No.  Plenty of people working at the garden have no prior experience.  Likewise, there are also many experienced gardeners on the team.  Basically we care more about interest than experience. 

So where exactly is Penn Garden?

It’s west of Rodin College House, near the bike racks.

What has happened so far?

A lot has happened so far.  Read some of the later blogs and pay attention to the calendar (coming soon!) to stay posted.

Okay, but what is the mission of the Garden?

The mission of this garden is to educate the Penn community about urban agriculture and to advocate for environmentally friendly, fair food systems. From an academic perspective, the goal of the garden is to educate students about issues surrounding food including public policy, food systems, and environmental sustainability. In terms of advocacy, the goal of the garden is to personally connect the Penn community to sustainable eating practices and increase understanding of food systems and food justice. These goals will connect the Penn community to the food it consumes and link it to the wider world.

What is the vision for the garden? 

The vision for the garden is to have a year-round food-producing garden that is the site of educational activities and community advocacy. A salaried garden manager and part-time student interns will maintain the garden and coordinate programming. An Urban Studies course focused on urban agriculture will be built around the garden, engaging students from an academic perspective. Volunteer days will give the Penn community an opportunity to work in the garden, strengthening the community and increasing conversations about food and sustainability. A. Selling the food to the dining halls will link the entire Penn community to the garden and encourage conversations about food issues. B. Selling the food at the campus farmer’s market will connect the Penn community to the garden. C. Donating the food to area food banks will connect Penn to its wider West Philadelphia community. (Our preference is B but A, B, and C contingent on funding)

There are numerous benefits of having a garden:

Education

            Increase awareness of sustainability issues

                        Water conservation (rain barrels)

                        Sustainable growing methods (compost, organic fertilizer)

                        Genetic diversity of plants (heirloom varieties)

            Urban food issues (local and global)

                        Public health

                        Obesity

                        Exercise

                        Diabetes

                        Hunger

                        Healthy eating habits

                        Access to food

            Food politics

                        US government policies

                                    Farm subsidies

                                    Distribution of grocery stores in urban areas

                                    Health care

                                    Food distribution systems

                                    Public education- science programs

                                    Food safety

                                    Industrial food production regulation

                        Global hunger

                        International food aid

                        Food security

            Promote discussion

                        Programming

                        Communal gathering place

So now that we have answered some of your questions about the garden, we hope that you will get involved!  We can use as much help as we can get, and we are sure that you would love to help keep our campus green (besides the fact that working on the garden is a great way to have fun, make new friends, and get your clothes dirty).  So contact us or refer to the calendar to get involved!

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