UofL promotes food literacy and urban agriculture through gardens on all three of our campuses.
UofL's Garden Commons at the Cultural Center on Belknap campus is a community space for learning about organic urban agriculture, more sustainable food systems, and building resilient community.
- UofL's organic community Garden Commons is hosted at the Cultural Center, in front of the University Club.
- Several sustainable urban farming and permaculture practices are in use at the garden, including:
1. Rainwater capture from the roof for irrigation in two different large rain barrel systems;
2. Composting to generate organic fertilizer in four, rolling bins where you can toss your food scraps and organics (no meat, bones, or dairy products, please);
3. Ten handicapped-accesible raised beds and several in-ground beds, including a mounded type of bed called a hugelkulture mound, and a perennial herb spiral;
4. A large, season-extending greenhouse with student-built solar panels to power the ventilation fans;
5. Fruit trees (apple, peach, serviceberry) and berry bushes (blackberry and raspberry);
6. Bike parking and an outdoor classroom space.
- The garden is student-managed by the Garden Commons RSO (Recognized Student Organization) whose goal is: "Educating ourselves to become urban farmers."
- Though everyone in the UofL community is invited to participate, students have taken the lead role in making decisions about what to plant, how to care for the crops, and what to do with the harvest.
- Garden Commons is a community space open to participation from all. Learn more and get involved through the Garden Commons website, join us through OrgSync or follow us on
- Fruit came to the Garden Commons in Spring 2013, with the planting of a dwarf apple and a dwarf peach tree! Baby Fruit Tree Photos here.
- The Garden Commons was first created in March 2010 as a collaborative project
in partnership with Louisville Grows, and has grown is scope and scale considerably since then.
- The Garden Commons hosts an on-going series of workshops about organic gardening, agriculture, and food justice.
Garden Commons Workshops
Vision for the Garden Commons
- University of Louisville expanding organic garden at Belknap (Courier-Journal, June 22, 2011)
- Garden Commons Grows (, June 27, 2011)
Garden Commons Expansion Video: June 2011
Garden Commons Video: Sustainability in Motion, Nov. 2010
Video of Garden Commons Ground-breaking, March 3, 2010
Health Sciences Center Garden
In the spring of 2011, dedicated nutritionists from the Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center (in the Kosair Charities Building at Floyd and Chestnut) decided to create a garden to benefit children receiving evaluation and therapy through the Feeding Disorders Program. The vision was that a garden would provide great opportunities for the children who are very restrictive in the variety of foods they will eat. By May 2011, the Feeding Therapy gardens were growing with tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and green beans sprouting from 3 square raised beds that were already in place between Baxter I and II. To learn more, contact Diana Pantalos.
Shelby Campus Garden
In 2011, dedicated staff at UofL's LEED Gold certified Center for Predictive Medicine on the Shelby campus planted a "Birthday" Garden which takes the place of cake and ice cream celebrations for our employees. Staff and researchers at the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory enjoyed a bountiful harvest in 2011 and replanted in 2012! To learn more, contact Marlene Steffen.
Resources for Urban Agriculture
- Urban Garden Share - Looking for garden space? Got some space to share? Connect here.
- Map of Louisville Community Gardens.
15Thousand Farmers - helping create, empower, and inspire 15,000 new, sustainable, neighborhood backyard/front yard farmers in Louisville, KY to feed their families and themselves and to give away!
- Kentucky Online Farm Market - buy, sell, trade locally-produced food and connect with the farmers and producers.
- VeggieTrader - a national website launched in March 2009, where backyard gardeners can buy, sell or swap homegrown produce. It is free to register and you can post or locate produce according to your zip code.
Breaking New Grounds - a non-profit organization committed to creating jobs through sustainable urban agriculture and turning "waste into wealth" in West Louisville. The long-term vision is to develop an urban farm and training center to grow soil, grow food and grow jobs.
- Louisville Grows - a non-profit working for a more sustainable future.
Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville - seeking to educate, train, empower and accompany the next generation of farmers for the rebuilding of a just and local food economy in Louisville and its regional foodshed.