The college's Environmental Horticulture Department will use the garden to teach horticulture students about home gardens and home food production and teach culinary students about building farm-to-restaurant relationships. The produce will be donated to local food banks.
"The department and its instructional garden are focused primarily on teaching sustainable landscaping and gardening options," says Michael Gonella, chair of the Environmental Horticulture Department at the college. "This vegetable garden will be a key element in the garden and will demonstrate integration of sustainable principles including organic soil care, composting and use of organic compost, water efficiency and food production."
The garden is located on the eastern portion of the college, overlooking the harbor, on the edge of the coastal bluff. Prior to the garden, the area was used for storage of landscaping debris and was overrun with weeds. It was cleared by students and eight, 8'x4' raised redwood beds were constructed. An additional four will be built soon.
Students will play a large part in the development and care of the vegetable garden. They have helped with building the raised beds, garden layout, seedling propagation and planting
Vegetable seedlings are already sprouting in the college greenhouse including leeks, collards, beets, arugula, Swiss chard and broccoli and will be transplanted into the garden shortly. Flowers will also be part of the mix to attract beneficial insects.
Agromin donated its Compost 100, an Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)-listed compost product. "It mixes perfectly with the school's all-organic garden theme," says Bill Camarillo, Agromin CEO. "Since it is OMRI listed, it can be used in certified organic production as well as food processing and handling according to USDA program rules. The soil amendment works great for gardens around the house since it contains no chemicals and is made from only clean and renewable plant materials."
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Agromin manufactures earth-friendly soil products for farmers, landscapers and gardeners. Agromin is also the organics recycler for over 50 Southern California communities. Each month, Agromin receives more than 30,000 tons of organic material and then uses a safe, natural and sustainable process to transform the material into premium soil products. The results are more vigorous and healthier plants and gardens, and on the conservation side, the opportunity to close the recycling loop, allow more room in landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.