Luz Reyes-Martin, Executive Director of Public Affairs and Communications
In 2015, Santa Barbara City College students and facilities staff began converting sections of unused lawn on West Campus into more productive garden systems with native species and food producing plants. The resulting Permaculture Gardens have received honorable mention for the Exemplary Program Award sponsored by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the Board of Governors.
As part of this year's theme, "Environmental Responsibility," the Permaculture Gardens were one of only four programs in the state honored with this award, which recognizes "innovative programs that contribute to student success." The Permaculture Gardens are an example of the campus as a living laboratory where students learn critical skills while making the campus more sustainable.
According to the Faculty Recognition Committee, "Creating a sense of belonging is a major goal for community colleges and anecdotally, students working on the gardens have found that sense of belonging and a project that motivates them and their studies, creating pride and a sense of empowerment as students help other students."
SBCC's Permaculture Gardens have replaced about 35,000 feet of unused lawn. They do not use fertilizer or pesticides, and they capture runoff, making better use of water and decreasing pollution into surrounding ecosystems. Students design and maintain these gardens, and experiment with different combinations of native species and food producing crops. The productivity of a crop plant, visitation of native pollinators to certain flowering species, the development of healthy soil, or the infiltration of runoff all provide opportunities for investigation.
The program director, Dr. Adam Green, has been invited to attend the Board of Governors ceremony in Sacramento on January 14, 2019, to receive the award.
West Campus then... ...West Campus now