Interested in health, sustainability, good food, and growing things?! We need your help to make our garden grow! The Garden Commons at the Cultural Center is a community space for learning about organic urban agriculture, more sustainable food systems, and building resilient community. The Garden Commons
is open to participation throughout the year from students, staff,
faculty, and community members. Everyone who helps out is welcome to share
in the harvest!Stay tuned for upcoming events on our Facebook Page.
SUMMER 2016 GROUP WORKDAYS: Every other Wednesday 11am-noon: June 29, July 13, July 27, Aug. 10. Contact: Ellie Miller at 502-758-3834.
Inquiries about the Garden Commons can be directed to our 2016-17 Garden & Farmers Market Intern, Ellie Miller at 502-758-3834.
The Garden Commons is next to the Cultural
Center (just across the parking lot from the SAC Clock Tower) and is open to participation throughout the year from students, staff, faculty, and community members. Those who help out in the garden are welcome to enjoy the fruits of our labor via you-pick. Please don't horde the harvest.
You need not wait for an invitation to get involved, but please join us as we
gather regularly throughout the year for group workdays and a series of practical, hands-on
workshops about how to manage different aspects of a chemical-free
garden and greenhouse. No prior experience is necessary. Tools and gloves are available.
Learn more and get involved by joining us on .
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 raised beds and several in-ground beds, including a perennial herb spiral, anda polycultural permaculture bed called a hugelkulture mound (buried wood which slowly composts, reducing the need for irrigation and fertilizer); 4. A large, season-extending greenhouse with solar panels to power the ventilation fans & aquaponics pump; 5. Fruit trees (apple, peach, serviceberry) and berry bushes (raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry); 6. A maple tree, whose sap can be tapped in January/February to make syrup! 7. Bike parking and an outdoor classroom space; and 8. We have been experimenting with an aquaponics system in the greenhouse to raise fish and use their waste as fertilizer for plants.
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 by joining us on or on OrgSync.
More Fruit came to the Garden Commons in Spring 2013, with the planting of dwarf apple and peach trees, which joined our berry patch containing a native serviceberry, strawberries, raspberry canes and blueberry bushes.
The Garden Commons was first created in March 2010 with just four raised beds as a collaborative project
in partnership with Louisville Grows, and has grown in scope and scale considerably since then. The largest change came during a summer 2011 expansion project with funding and volunteer labor donated by the Akzo Nobel coatings company.
The Garden Commons hosts an on-going series of hands-on workshops about organic gardening, agriculture, permaculture, and food justice.
Garden Commons Harvest Party! Saturday, Aug. 20th 2:00 - 3:00pm outside the Cultural Center During Welcome Week 2016, all are encouraged to stop by UofL's organic Garden Commons to sample some of the delicious fresh produce we've grown together over the summer and learn how you can get involved and learn how to grow your own food right here on campus! Sponsored by the UofL Sustainability Council with help from our friends in the Office of Health Promotion. Connect with us on Facebook.
Also joining us will be Kati Burton from The Food Literacy Project, who will be showing us their Truck Farm, which is a mobile demonstration garden with veggies planted in the pickup bed!
The Garden Commons has been host to an on-going series of workshops over the years. Workshops are open to all, typically involve some hands-on work, and have focused on everything from organic gardening practices (composting, rainwater harvesting, soil management, cover crops, natural pest repellents, seed saving, seed starting, compost tea, permaculture, intercropping, etc.) to harvest preserving techniques and cooking/nutrition to larger issues such as food justice and sustainable food systems. UofL's Sustainability Council has taken the lead to organize workshops, in collaboration with the Office of Health Promotion and the UofL Eco-Reps Program.
The UPA Horticulture Zone has been growing food & community behind UofL's Urban Studies
Institute (426 W. Bloom St., west of Bettie Johnson Hall) since ground-breaking on May 22nd, 2013!
It is an initiative of the Urban & Public Affairs Student
Organization, with funding provided by both the Student Organization and the
Department of Urban & Public Affairs.
The students were inspired to take an under-utilized small parcel
of green space behind the building and turn it
into a living, productive, and engaging “Horticulture Zone.” What had once been
an uninviting patch of grass that had to be mowed regularly with fossil fuels
is being transitioned into an inviting outdoor gathering space beside our
historic apple tree.
The space is used to grow fresh, delicious produce on fruit trees (peach, apple, and native serviceberry, pawpaw & persimmon) and in four
raised beds filled with rich, organic compost made by volunteers
on campus from food waste collected both on and off campus.
students worked with Physical Plant’s grounds team to develop a site design
that includes four hand-built planter beds with benches, sinuous paths, two compost
bins, three rain barrels to capture water from the roof for irrigation, native
shade-tolerant plants for areas under the canopy, and nitrogen-fixing red
clover no-mow areas inspired by the Air Pollution Control District’s “Grow More, Mow Less”
campaign which was run at the time by UPA graduate, Eric Burnett.
After an abundant first growing season in 2013, three rain barrels were installed and the new garden was formally dedicated during on Campus Sustainability Day, October 23, 2013. The dedication ceremony was a highlight of UofL Sustainability Week and included the harvest of over 100 pounds of sweet potatoes grown in just one of the raised beds! Read the story: Campus horticultural zone has flowers, vegetable garden(UofL Today, Oct. 22, 2013)
In Spring 2015, a new raised-bed community garden was installed by the Clubhouse at The Province,
a UofL Affiliated Housing property on the northwest corner of campus.
In summer 2015, a compost bin and rain barrel was added. The new garden
features vegetables, herbs, and flowers and is intended for use by
residents of The Province, who are welcome to pick fresh produce
whenever they wish. All are welcome to regular workshops and tastings
throughout the growing season. Stay in touch with events and
developments in the garden via The Province's Facebook Page. Contact: Haley Cason, Asst. General Manager, HCason@studenthousing.com, 502-636-1688.
Preschool children at UofL's Early Learning Campus on W. Bloom Street learn about gardening from seed to harvest. The facility has featured a roof garden and greenhouse with vegetable beds since its opening. Once the UPA Horticulture Zone was created across the street in 2013, the children were taken on regular field trips to help plant seeds and taste the harvest. In spring 2016, UofL College of Education students helped install additional raised beds around the street-level outdoor play area so that kids can watch things grow as they play each day.
The Early Learning Campus is part of the Gladys and Lewis "Sonny" Bass Louisville Scholar House Campus and is an exemplary early child development center for children of UofL faculty, staff and students, and residents of the Louisville Scholar House. The facility is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and offers full day curriculum for children aged six weeks to four years.
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.
In 2011, dedicated staff at UofL's LEED Gold certifiedCenter for Predictive Medicineon 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 have replanted each year! To learn more, contact Marlene Steffen.
Farmers - helping create, empower, and inspire 15,000 new, sustainable,
neighborhood backyard/front yard farmers in Louisville to feed themselves, their
families and others! Follow on
Louisville Grows - a non-profit whose mission is to grow a just and sustainable community in Louisville through urban agriculture, urban forestry, and environmental education. Follow on
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.