University Times

Cal State LA Garden Project

Students+in+the+community+garden.
Students in the community garden.

Students in the community garden.

University of California, Irvine.

University of California, Irvine.

Students in the community garden.

Sergio Maldonado, Contributor

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After I received my Bachelors in History from Cal State LA, I reflected on what I had learned during my time as an undergraduate. As a History student, I read and learned about states, war, peace, people and everything in between. As I reflect back on this, among all those heavy topics, one of the most important was, and is, Food Justice. As people of this earth, if there is one thing we can understand, it is the need for healthy and accessible food. As we enter deeper into the twenty-first century, the need for healthy food has reached a fever pitch. Homelessness is on the rise, food deserts plague our communities and the lack of proper nutritional education is causing a nationwide health crisis. One of the ways we can help alleviate these issues is through community gardening.

The UC Irvine Garden Project serves as an example. Through their program, they’ve created sustainable gardens where students and people of their communities can come together to garden, harvest and enjoy healthy foods. Moreover, by working together, they begin to understand the importance of sharing vital resources with one another; a skill we all desperately need in this self-centered society. 

Cal State Los Angeles can learn a lot from UC Irvine’s Garden Project. Thankfully, many of our professors and students are already leading the way in sustainable community gardening. In a recent exhibit held at the Cal State LA library, one of the displays was a student rendering of a community garden set to be created near the Annenberg Science Complex building. If the Cal State LA community garden is implemented, it can serve as a great example for our communities. Considering that our campus is located in an underserved community, this garden can provide us with ample opportunity to work together to provide for one another’s needs. Students can learn about sustainable foods through scientific inquiry, our local residents can become active in university culture and we can begin to teach the younger generation the importance of a sustainable lifestyle.

If our university is to lead in the twenty-first century, we must understand the importance of Food Justice. In our modern times, there should be no reason why a person has to dig through the trash to eat a meal. There should be no reason why a child cannot eat a nutritious piece of fruit. In our modern times, a student should not have to struggle to pay for food. Yet, this is the norm. Considering that we are a university in the heart of the city of Los Angeles, we hold a great responsibility not only to learn about justice, but to implement it! Often times, we see these issues as beyond us, but we must ask ourselves: “If we don’t implement change, who will?” Thus, our community garden can and will serve as a nexus of potential change. But this change will not come to fruition on its own. It takes individual action, cooperation and a willingness to give your time for the greater good.

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7 Comments

7 Responses to “Cal State LA Garden Project”

  1. B Baca on April 30th, 2018 6:04 pm

    This is a great idea! I think I heard something about this, but it got cancelled? It should definitely happen on our campus, Make the best possible use of CSULA

  2. Sergio Maldonado on May 3rd, 2018 11:45 am

    Ben, yes it has been cancelled. From my understanding, they called the garden a “hazard.” I’m not sure how a community garden can be considered a hazard? If elementary schools in LAUSD can implement gardens, I don’t see why we cant.

  3. Manuel Thomas on May 3rd, 2018 12:06 pm

    How can the university shut this down??? There’s numerous spots throughout the campus that are perfect for planting gardens that can benefit not only our health but the health of the wild life. Take for example bees and humanities desperate need for survival based on these creatures alone!

    Also, the university does not provide sustainable nutritional food its students who do not have money. As a student of CSULA, I have been homeless and without food. Many times I have to class starving and not able to perform at my best because I didnt have any money for food or time to go search for free food. If only the campus had free fruit from trees that grew on my way to class. Imagine that shit.

  4. E. Brathwaite on May 3rd, 2018 1:14 pm

    This is a great idea!
    Very useful to educate our communities on the importance of gardening and sustainable food . Great opportunity for CSULA to be the example. Great article Mr Maldonado.

  5. A vgn on May 3rd, 2018 9:14 pm

    I would definitely volunteer if there was a garden. Agreed that food justice is important! Especially a great idea for all students to know where food comes from and how its grown to learn about more sustainable farming and land stewardship practices!

  6. Beverly Stoll on May 4th, 2018 7:40 am

    CSULA needs to reconsider the community garden project!!!!!! For the University to establish the garden could pave the way for sustainable urban gardening within East LA & San Gabriel Valley neighborhoods. This needs to happen! Healthy food is a human right for all people. CSULA can change things for the better by taking the leap.

  7. Mrs. Yepez on May 4th, 2018 8:48 am

    A community garden should not only be part of our university, but it should also be encouraged and duplicated throughout our communities!

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