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Stephanie Hopkins
Campus Garden Project

Last modified: Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Edible Campus" project links food, gardens, sustainability

April 19, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- With nearly 2,000 acres of real estate, Indiana University Bloomington offers intriguing possibilities for growing food. The Designing an Edible Campus project is exploring how campus gardens, landscaping with fruit and nut trees and other efforts can contribute to sustainability.

Campus Gardening

Photo by Aaron Bernstein

Volunteers work to ready a campus garden plot at Bryan House.

Print-Quality Photo

The project, an initiative of the IU Office of Sustainability, will demonstrate how sustainability, food security and environmental quality can be linked through innovative urban design. It will attempt to show ways to grow food in urban spaces without diminishing their utility or functionality.

"The basic concept is to explore how to grow more food on campus and engage the community in the process," said Stephanie Hopkins, Campus Garden Pilot Project intern with the Office of Sustainability. "The project seeks to get people involved in the short term and produce institutionalized change in the long term."

Elements of the project include:

  • An Edible Campus design series in which participants have shared experiences and brainstormed ideas about the culture of food sustainability
  • A campus garden project in which volunteers have been meeting for weekly work sessions to prepare for planting at a 900-square-foot garden plot at Bryan House on the IU campus

Hopkins said the design series has brought together students, faculty and staff with varying interests, including gardening, local foods, the "slow food" movement and others.

"There are a lot of people who are interested in this, but they don't necessarily communicate with one another," she said. "One of the goals of the series is to get everybody in the same room."

The final session of the series, at which participants will share their visions for the project and identify next steps, will take place 5:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 26 in the Bridgwater Lounge of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. E-mail to arrange to attend.

For the campus garden project, volunteers have met on Wednesdays in March and April to prepare the garden space at Bryan House. The garden may make use of a variety of techniques suited to sustainable urban gardening, including container gardens, raised beds, a small vertical garden and composting.

More participants are welcome for a spring planting event at the garden 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 23.

Also part of the Designing an Edible Campus project will be a blog to report on the progress of the garden and provide updates on opportunities for involvement; and an ongoing effort to ensure that food sustainability is part of future decisions for the design and development of campus space.

For more information, see