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Pacific Garden Program
Communication Building, Room 4

FACILITIES, Sustainability
1050 Brookside Road
Stockton, CA 95211

The Pacific Garden Program

Program Vision

The Pacific Garden Program, with its interactive edible gardens, has an educational mission; its purpose is not to grow produce, but to show how produce is grown. We bring together people of all generations to grow food, learn to be more responsible consumers of food, have an enriching encounter with nature, and build community in a common space.

We want people not just to learn about food, but to realize that they can grow it for themselves. In the state best known for its industrial agriculture marketed globally, our goal is to aim small: empowering members of our community with the skills, knowledge and boldness to engage in a bit of edible gardening for themselves and to share with others. Commercial farms are not the only source of food; home gardens are also important. We think it is possible to have an edible harvest coming out of every household - and that any amount of freshly harvested food is a good amount.

Our main beneficiaries are students at University of the Pacific - our interactive gardens are meant to be experiential learning spaces where students can connect classroom learning to hands-on learning, and we expect the lessons to go far beyond the basics of food growing. We also aim to reach Pacific faculty, staff, and the neighboring community, including local school children. We would like for as many of these beneficiaries as possible to come to our gardens and experience, with all their senses, a living demonstration of how food is grown organically and sustainably.

Part of our mission is to educate about the role of fresh, high quality food in good health, as well as about problems of access to such food in our own communities here in Stockton. We aim to nudge people out of their passive relationship to food - their dependence on having it delivered to them in supermarkets, without ever really understanding where it comes from - and to connect them directly with the source of food. Even if our beneficiaries don't end up avidly growing their own food, the experience can teach them to be consumers of fresh, healthy, local produce. Local farmers need local consumers (and everyone needs to eat their vegetables).

We also see the gardens as a community commons for all. Pacific needs a "third space" where members of the university community and our local neighbors can meet and connect around meaningful outdoor activity. We think gardens also help people understand the concept of (bio)diversity. The healthiest gardens are those with a diverse community of plants, reproducing in the cultivated garden the kind of biological diversity found in nature. This is a perfect metaphor for the community we are building in and around the garden: it should be a maximally collaborative space that welcomes diversity (of people, of ideas) to establish an atmosphere of openness, receptiveness and creativity - productive in every sense.

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