In 1973, the first gardening efforts occurred on the UWGB campus. Barbara Rosenbaum, a student from Missouri, contacted the Office of Student Life wondering if there was a section of campus land that could be made available for a garden. Other students, faculty, and staff soon joined the efforts. Dick Christie, director of student life, made sure the gardening group received funding. Although the allocation was only $100, the group accomplished a great deal the first year.
The garden consisted of a half-acre lot and was divided into a communal section and individual areas. The small organic campus garden grew cabbage, beans, corn, radishes, lettuce, and other vegetables.
One of the organizers was Schellie Hensely, a senior from Illinois. He indicated the limited gardening funds were extended by using the leaf mold from a campus recycling project. Hensley stated the campus gardeners learned from organic gardening publications and members of the group who “grew up on a farm” as well as intuition.
The 1973 garden quickly became bigger in purpose with the campus fruit trees benefitting from the garden mulching and pruning; planned renovation of the greenhouse; and the creation of a library on organic gardening.
Fast forward to 2010 when the current SLO Food Alliance was established and a new campus garden began on the plaza of the University Union. As part of UWGB’s Earth Week celebration, this year’s garden will be planted on Thursday and Friday.