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Projects Updates for Orchard Downs Community Gardens

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  1. Archived Info - Previous Project Description

    Associated Project(s): 

    Community gardens built on the farmlands at Orchard Downs are available to use for growing their own food. They are managed by volunteers who assign and take payment for plots for the Family Housing Council. Housing pays for the water via funds that are collected, and they manage the plowing, clean-up, and maintenance of the garden area. Gardeners range from University administrators and students to community members. This program has been active since at least the 1990s.

  2. background information from Housing

    Associated Project(s): 

    Housing provided the following information: "The cost is generally considered to be manageable but not neutral- the Family Housing Council contributes renter fees towards the cost of water usage but they do not pay the cost of plowing, clean-up, or general maintenance. That is absorbed into the yearly work of maintaining the land in that area. In regards to education, we (Family and Graduate Housing and Housing Facilities) built a nice shed/work space that allows for gardening sessions tips and discussions to happen. A majority of our gardeners are International and many of them have gardened in extreme weather and land situations that are far more challenging than the rich soil here in Central Illinois.  So oftentimes we allow our International residents to share how they have developed irrigation systems or they discuss how to use various material to create trellis like structures. We have through a collaborative in housing worked with Housing Dining to allow gardeners access to coffee grinds that can be mixed into the soil. In regards to liability, this is a garden at your own risk program. So far we have assisted residents who lost everything in some of our flooding incidents in the past with new seeds or tools but not much in the way of accepting liability for flooding, stealing, or damaging events."

  3. Campus community Garden Fostering Sustainable Food

    The Campus Community Garden (CCG) will be designed by students, built, and planted on the grounds of the University of Illinois Turf Farm. The CCG will look and feel like a typical allotment-style community garden, but the management of the garden will be focused on undergraduate learning opportunities. To this end, half of the individual garden plots (24 raised beds) will be made available to students for independent gardening activities and experimentation. The other 24 raised bed garden plots will be used for teaching, demonstration, and outreach on urban agriculture, and they will also serve as important examples of successful production methods for student gardeners.

  4. suggestion for community gardens

    Associated Project(s): 

    In 2013, the Student Sustainability Committee received this project suggestion: "Community gardens built on the farmlands at Orchard Downs would benefit direct participants, households, and the community. Main participants in the project would be university students, local residents, and children from an after-school program nearby. The participants would not only benefit from the food produced, but the agricultural knowledge, environmental consciousness, and community interaction associate with working on a community farm.

    The gardens will be designed in a biointensive way, meaning they will be organic agricultural plots that focus on yielding maximal produce on a small plot and maintaining the quality of the soil. The gardens may be implemented in greenhouses, hoop houses, or outdoors depending on the seasonal limitations decided upon in the final designs of the garden.

    Students can register to do volunteer work at the community garden that would be counted toward course credit. Students and their relatives can also request plot to farm on, from which they can use  the produce themselves or sell it to school organizer of the program."

    Housing Services has already established community gardens, which have been in effect since at least the 1990s.

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