In October, members of the Staff Sustainability Network (SSN) were impressed by a tour of Roger’s Community Garden (RCG). This student-run, organic garden, located behind UCSD’s Theatre District, serves the University as well as the local community. In addition to leasing garden plots to UCSD affiliates, the students at RCG are working on composting projects and developing workshops on sustainable agriculture and nutrition.
RCG members Ben Baker, Jose Diaz, Zack Osborn, and Ismael Ramirez shared a plethora of information with SSN during the tour. The tour weaved its way through the quarter acre of RCG, admiring successful harvests of passion fruit, three varieties of guava, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, a variety of herbs and succulents, and more. One of the unique highlights of the tour was learning about RCG’s aquaponics system. Simply put, water from the fish tank provides nutrients to the plants and is then recirculated back into the tank, providing an opportunity for a symbiotic relationship between fish and the hydroponically-grown vegetables. RCG’s system yields many leafy greens, including chard and lettuce.
Based on their collections from Art of Espresso, RCG members estimate that 500+ pounds of coffee grounds are disposed of at UCSD every day. The coffee grounds that RCG collects are used to fertilize the garden’s succulents and benefit the compost. In the future, RCG also hopes to use the grounds to grow oyster and shitake mushrooms. RCG has regularly-scheduled pre-consumer waste pick-ups from Yogurt World on campus and use that waste to feed their compost, red worms, and black soldier fly larvae in the garden. They hope to partner with more University eateries in order to increase their impact of waste reduction.
If you want to get involved with or support Roger’s Community Garden, consider volunteering, renting a garden plot, donating money or materials, or attending a meeting. You can also buy a CSA box from them! Roger’s CSA program brings local produce to the UCSD community. They deliver boxes in a carbon-free manner, anywhere on campus, and can work with individuals to meet their produce needs. In the future, RCG hopes to expand their CSA program to include collecting compost from participating members- when RCG delivers the CSA box, they will also collect compost buckets for the garden. Contact their current garden coordinator at email@example.com with questions about the CSA program or for more information regarding garden involvement or support.
Photos and a video of SSN’s garden tour are available on SSN’s website. The tour was so popular that SSN plans on coordinating another one. If you want to join us, please come to a SSN meeting or sign up to join the SSN e-mail list.
Written by Allison Sanchirico, Membership Chair of the Staff Sustainability Network