Lawrence University, WI Sustainable University Gardens

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Lawrence University, WI, US

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Type: Program

Status: Initiated in 2004

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Sustainable Lawrence University Gardens is a student-run, non-profit project of the university. Our mission is to engage and educate the Lawrence and greater Fox Cities communities through connection to sustainable and organic agricultural processes.

The idea of the Sustainable Lawrence University Gardens has been contemplated by students and faculty over the last decade or so. Potential garden sites were tentatively researched over the past few years by Professor of Geology, Jeff Clark. In 2004, new Lawrence President Jill Beck expressed significant interest in the project and offered the potential for financial assistance if the project could be completed. Planning was then handed over to students in the form of an Environmental Studies symposium course centered around sustainable agriculture. Twenty upper classmen Environmental Studies majors and minors were given individual projects towards researching various facets of garden implementation. Guest experts visited to provide commentary on the project's development. Students also worked closely with university departments such as Physical Plant and Food Services to ensure the capability of support from the faculty. The class came up with the title Lawrence University Organic Garden.

After a class presentation to President Beck, faculty, staff, and students recommended the bottom of Union Hill as a viable site, a sizeable grant was approved, and the project took off. Thereafter, the garden staff and advisory council were hired/appointed, the ground was prepared, structures were built, and seeds were planted. Shortly after planting the name of the project was changed to Sustainable Lawrence University Gardens. The change came about as a formality because technically produce cannot be called "organic" unless expensive federal certification is sought.

During the 2005 and 2006 growing seasons, SLUG sold produce for the Jason Downer student dining facilities and at Saturday morning farmers market days in downtown Appleton.

The current 2007 season offers great promise as Professor Jeff Clark has initiated an organic market gardening class to reinvigorate efforts and long term projects for the garden.

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