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Planting a sustainable campus

Urban Garden Project:

  • parsley
  • rosemary
  • strawberries.
  • tomatoes
  • peppers

Greenhouse tour, urban garden presentation at CSULA Nov. 17

Picture of John Sanchez in the CSULA Greenhouse.
Biology senior John M. Sanchez inspects some of the seedlings displayed in the CSULA Greenhouse.

Do you know that Cal State L.A. has a glass-framed greenhouse that regulates temperature, humidity and water distribution for healthy plant growth?

If you didn’t know or if you want to learn more, you and members of the campus community are invited to tour the CSULA Greenhouse, adjacent to Parking Lot 3, on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 12:30 p.m.

The CSULA Greenhouse, which houses more than 100 types of plants and about 50 different species, is also surrounded by flora, shrubberies and vegetations in the outer courtyard.

According to John M. Sanchez, the Associated Students, Inc.’s (ASI) environmental affairs commissioner, “There is a variety of foliages in the CSULA Greenhouse, including insect-eating plants and even the corpse flower, which blooms every six years.”

Picture of CSULA Greenhouse exterior.

The Greenhouse, maintained by instructional support technician John Harris, operates as an outdoor classroom and research lab for various biology classes, such as Introductory Biology, Medical Ethnobotany, and Plant Biology.

Inside the CSULA Greenhouse, Harris can often be observed helping to nurture bush bean plants for growth projects conducted by biology students along with building compost piles and soil mounds to recycle plants and soil.

Organized by the ASI’s Environmental Policy Committee, the Students United for Sustainability and the Horticulture Club at CSULA, the Nov. 17 event will also feature a presentation about the Urban Garden Project to create a sustainable agricultural environment on campus.

“We want to encourage the campus community to help cultivate the Horticulture Club’s Urban Garden, which was planted in a small plot last spring as a pilot project,” said Sanchez, who is a biology senior and a member of the Horticulture Club. “If it flourishes, the urban garden will help promote a healthy campus community, create a sustainable and green lifestyle, and be a resource for providing organic vegetables and fruits.”

In addition to the experience of being involved with such hands-on projects as the Urban Garden, the Horticulture Club at CSULA currently provides students the opportunity to volunteer in the field, visit local or regional arboretums and gardens, and attend professional meetings and conferences.

“We are also partnering with the CSULA Students United for Sustainability to possibly start up an Urban Garden outside of the Student Housing Complex,” Sanchez added. “Besides my goal of completing my degree in order to become a medical doctor, I am hoping that we will one day grow and harvest enough fresh produce to eventually open up a mini farmer’s market for housing students and the surrounding community.”

Sanchez’s idea is to incorporate the Urban Garden Project as a service-learning component of a class curriculum, where students can work together throughout the season and share the responsibility of watering, fertilizing, weeding and harvesting the plants.

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Last Update: 02/2/2009