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Patrick Harker, Nancy Brickhouse, Mark Rieger: Create an educational, sustainable, and student-operated garden program

This petition made change with 619 supporters!

Our objective is to gather signatures for our proposed "Gardens for Growth" program at the University of Delaware. This petition is the first step of the program and is a demonstration of support to the University of Delaware administration.

We propose the creation of an educational, organic, sustainable, and student-operated garden program for the campus of the University of Delaware. We envision multiple gardens run by students working for independent credit, volunteer service hours, and by individual plot owners or student groups.

Operations will be overseen by a faculty mentor and/or staff to ensure that the gardens are successful and comply with the standards of the University's aesthetic codes and peer programs. Eventually we hope the University of Delaware’s “Gardens for Growth” program will be incorporated into a new “Permaculture Program” curriculum within the school of agriculture, which will address educational topics in organic agriculture and horticulture, urban farming, and food security.

The cultivation and implementation of this program is a true step towards meeting the University of Delaware's goal to become “The Green University.” The “Gardens for Growth” program fits with the core of the University of Delaware's Path to Prominence, not only in addressing modern, popular topics such as organic horticulture, biosphere diversity, permaculture, and urban farming, but also by integrating more environmental programs within the curriculum. Student gardens fit in snugly with the existing Initiative for the Planet.

Our focus for locations is near heavy pedestrian traffic. With high visibility, the gardens will be a good demonstration of the University of Delaware's own initiative in the areas of sustainability and ecologically green practices. We suggest for the first year, pilot gardens to demonstrate the viability of the plan, and inform us more fully about issues of cost and implementation. In succeeding years we aim to create new gardens in locations of increasing prominence and value, and cultivate more related programs.

Core values of the programs:

 - Gardens for educational demonstrations.

 - A garden for all UD community members, undergrad/grad students, faculty, and staff.

 - Plots set up using modern organic techniques in irrigation, fertilization, composting, and pest management for a good harvest.

 - A garden to grow food for consumption by the student-community body.

 - A focus on the improvement of soil quality and the stability of ecological relationships over time.

 - Expectations of harvest weight will be based on projections and analyses which will become further refined over time.

 - Gardens will be a provision of space enabling students and faculty to learn about and experiment with different ideas and techniques which fall under the umbrella of organic agriculture, such as permaculture and biodynamics.

 - Issues of cost and funding may be addressed with a focus on diversity of cost saving and fund-raising methods.

 - Growing goals shall be determined each season through a joint collaboration between the student leadership and their faculty mentor.

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