Formed in the Spring of 2009, the University of Iowa Student Garden produces a variety of spring, summer and fall produce that is distributed among members, volunteers and local hunger relief organizations, including the Food Pantry at Iowa.
The UI Gardeners club maintains a commercial-size operation on the 1/3rd acre plot on the Hawkeye Campus. The group uses organic methods in an effort to grow food sustainably, choosing locally-sourced compost and manual weeding over synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Outside of the normal growing season, they grow food and flora in a hydroponics system in the Biology Building East greenhouse.
Additionally, the UI Gardeners hold weekly meetings Monday nights at 8:00 PM in 31 Schaeffer Hall to organize, hear from local speakers and share garden-related skills.
The mission of the Student Garden is to:
- Create mentoring opportunities for students who want to learn practical farming and gardening skills.
- Grow sustainable produce for the University of Iowa and Iowa City community.
- Increase food security on campus and in the community.
- Provide and demonstrate sustainable food choices and lifestyle practices to all University of Iowa students.
- Promote interdisciplinary cooperation between students, campus, and community organizations.
- Serve as a resource for education and research for students, faculty, and staff of the University of Iowa.
The Student Garden provides an educational opportunity for several colleges and departments and is directly linked to the academic and residential Green Adventures Living Learning Community, which aims to contextualize a diversity of environmental issues topics:
- Urban and regional food systems
- Plant morphology, biochemistry, and physiology
- Plant evolution and diversity
- Applications in environmental engineering
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
- Culture and food diversity
- Human diet and nutrition