The Garden Project in 2017

Poppies in bloom

Fernando Maldonado, the thinker, organizer, and educator who brought the UCI Garden Project into bloom, moved on to other adventures in December. This meant that, like plants in winter, the Garden Project slowed down.

I’m Adonia Lugo, the new co-manager at GSRC, and I’ve spent my first two months here thinking about what it means to build community within and across the six UC Irvine garden spaces. Now that spring is budding across campus, we’re ready to start collaborating again.

Update from Global Food Initiative (GFI) Fellows
Manny Preciado helped facilitate last year’s community planning workshop, which produced a number of ideas for improving how UCI gardens work. Now he is in dialogue with Verano Place housing to create a food forest within an existing orchard near the community garden there.

Seed libraryAnother idea that came out of last year’s workshop was taken on by Emma Peterson, who has been developing a seed library this year. The seeds are now available for anyone to come pick up in GSRC, and soon this handy student will have constructed a shelving system to keep the seed jars organized.

You can learn more about our GFI fellows here.

Update from Campus as a Living Lab (CLL) Interns
There are three CLL interns working on garden-related projects this year, including a greenhouse, a food forest. This update comes from Tyler Skye Valdes, who is also our patient administrative assistant at GSRC.

Tyler says: Currently, I am working on maintaining my garden beds which include watering, pruning, weeding, harvesting, and planting. I have recently submitted my grant application to The Green Initiative Fund for new benches, garden signs, chalkboards, mobile cart, soil, and a new scale. I have developed garden volunteer forms and garden feedback forms that the ASUCI Garden Commissioner plans to release in the future. Also, I have facilitated the coordination of monthly garden stakeholder meetings by sending invitation and reminders while also participating at the meetings. My goals for Spring quarter include: getting the signs installed at the garden, preparing the mobile cart garden for outreach at the Sustainable Foods Fair, helping to coordinate and host an End-of-Year Garden Reveal Party and Harvest, and assisting the new GSRC Garden Coordinator with the educational component of garden and preparing for next year.

If you’re a student who is interested in being part of CLL next year, click here to find out more. The Garden Project is lucky to have such motivated students moving things forward!

Soon I’ll be sharing more about our work to supply produce for the on-campus food pantry, our new garden coordinator, and CLL intern projects. To help make the Garden Project flourish this spring, come see me at GSRC or email