UPA Horticulture Zone


Urban & Public Affairs (UPA) Horticulture Zone

The UPA Horticulture Zone is an example the potential for urban agriculture and sustainability on small lots in urban areas.  On May 22, 2013, students and staff of the Department of Urban and Public Affairs broke ground on the UPA Horticulture Zone behind UofL's Urban Studies Institute (426 W. Bloom St., west of Bettie Johnson Hall).  It is an initiative of the Master of Urban Planning Student Organization (PSO), 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 has been transformed into an inviting outdoor gathering space beside a historic apple tree (grafted from the tree that Sir Isaac Newton was sitting under when an apple fell and hit him in the head inspiring his moment of gravity).

The Horticulture Zone produces fresh, delicious produce in four raised beds that are filled with rich, organic compost made by volunteers on campus from food waste collected from UofL dining and other sources.  UPA students worked with Physical Plant’s grounds team to develop a site design that includes four hand-built planter beds with benches, sinuous paths, compost bins, three rain barrels to capture water from the roof for irrigation, native shade-tolerant plants for areas under the canopy, and a nitrogen-fixing red clover no-mow area inspired by the Air Pollution Control District’s “Grow More, Mow Less” campaign.  The UPA Horticulture Zone is one of several sustainable garden initiatives that the University of Louisville has established on all of its campuses which is part of the larger UofL Sustainability Operations.

After an abundant first growing season in 2013, three rain barrels were installed and the new garden was formally dedicateduring 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!  The UPA Horticulture Zone is an all-volunteer project open to participation from anyone in the community. Contact: Yani Vozos yani.vozos@louisville.edu, 852-8002.