In partnership with the Edible Campus Program, the UCSB Recreation Center will be installing two hydroponic vertical gardens in April 2017. Hydroponic growing systems do not require soil and instead allow roots to grow out into the air where water is dripped onto the roots. Nutrients for the plants will come from compost tea (the liquid byproduct of worm-based composting on campus) and some commercially available nutrient mixtures.
Eggplants, squashes, tomatoes, and peppers are some of the many plants that the Edible Campus Program plans to grow at the Recreation Center. The plants will be harvested by the Associated Students Department of Public Worms and distributed by the Associated Students Food Bank, increasing student access to fresh produce.
The Edible Campus Program hopes to raise awareness of the many ways that food can be grown in very small spaces and within the conditions of the suburban and urban landscape. We hope that through these urban farming techniques we can engage students in the food system and show that farming and gardening is something that could be integrated into their everyday lives and the campus landscape.
This partnership also opens up new opportunities to connect the Edible Campus Program with the sports and recreation communities through a shared interest in the health of bodies and our planet. In late April, we will be co-hosting a ribbon-cutting event in partnership with the student-majority recreation center governance board. Recreation based organizations as well as environmentally-focused organizations will be invited to come together in celebration and to start imagining future collaboration opportunities.
For more information about the hydroponic vertical gardens project, please visit: http://www.sustainability.ucsb.edu/hydroponics/