UC Berkeley Farms and Gardens

Explore UC Berkeley Farms and Gardens

A variety of gardens exist at UC Berkeley that allow students, staff, faculty, and community members to engage in hands-on educational opportunities in botany, garden management, garden design, and sustainable agriculture. Scroll below to learn more about the breadth of gardens at UC Berkeley and ways you can get involved. To learn more about experiential learning in food and agriculture across the UC system, see here.

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Blake Garden

Blake Garden is a 10.6 acre public garden located north of UC Berkeley’s main campus. Since the 1960s, the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design has managed the garden, giving students hands-on opportunities to study plant identification, garden design, and more as part of their coursework. Blake Garden also offers volunteer and work study opportunities to students and the public that explore such varied topics as garden bed restoration, water management, and pruning.

For more information, see here.

Email: twitchel@berkeley.edu. Phone: (510) 524-2449.

Garden Manager: Lauri Twitchell

Clark Kerr Garden

Established in 2010, the Clark Kerr Garden is the only garden affiliated directly with a residential dining hall. In fall of 2015, the Cal Dining Sustainability Team revitalized the garden to give produce to the Clark Kerr Dining Hall and the UC Berkeley Food Pantry. The Clark Kerr Garden has fruit orchards and raised beds located directly behind the Clark Kerr Dining Hall on the South side of campus.

The Clark Kerr Garden offers weekly drop-in volunteer hours and periodic workshops, allowing interested individuals to learn about sustainable land use in an urban setting.

For more information see here.

Student Leader: Lucy Nguyen Tate

On-Campus Gardens

There are three gardens located directly on UC Berkeley’s main campus. In the Fall of 2013, students established the Barker Hall and Mulford Hall gardens, followed by the Giannini garden in Spring 2015.

Through the Creating a Sustainable Campus Landscape On-Campus Gardening DeCal, students learn from their peers or DeCal alumni about ecological design, agroecology, and food sociology. Then, they apply these lessons to independently manage and maintain on-campus gardens throughout the semester.

Student Leader: Dakota Glueck

The Student Organic Garden

Established in 1971, the Student Organic Garden, otherwise known as SOGA, is a completely student led garden where 300-400 students, faculty, and community members come to learn about organic gardening and agroecology each year. SOGA has historically hosted the outdoor lab for ESPM 117: Urban Garden Ecosystems and classes for local middle school students.

SOGA student leaders facilitate three DeCals annually: Garden Leadership and Management which allows students to initiate their own garden projects, Berkeley Urban Garden Internship (BUGI) which provides students the opportunity to gain organic gardening skills and partner with urban gardens in the Bay Area, and Organic Gardening and Food Justice, which enables students to learn gardening skills in an outdoor and discussion-based environment. SOGA offers open hours throughout the school year on Sundays from 10 – 2 pm.

See a short film about SOGA here. For more information see here.

Student Leader: Brianna Caspersen

UC Botanical Garden

UC Berkeley formally established the University of California Botanical Garden at Strawberry Canyon in 1890 as a non-profit research garden and living natural history museum. Spanning 34 acres, the UC Botanical Garden has 11,000 plus different kinds of plants, primarily wild collected from around the world. It leads 2,600 Cal students, 1,100 students from other colleges, and 3,200 K-12 school students on tours annually and hosts 45,000 visitors each year.

The UC Botanical Garden offers numerous opportunities for experiential learning in botany. It hires undergraduate students to work in the garden, offers GSR positions in curation, and hosts interns. Staff direct in-school educational programs, summer camps for children age 5—11 at the Botanical Garden, and garden leadership training for educators from local elementary schools. Lastly, the Botanical Garden offers educational workshops, educational tours, and free open hours to the campus community year round.

For more information, see here.

Email: garden@berkeley.edu. Phone: 510-643-2755.

Education Director: Christine Manoux

UC Gill Tract Community Farm

From the 1940s—1980s the University of California ran the Biological Control Research Station at the Gill Tract, offering students research experience in non-chemical pest control. The current UC Gill Tract Community Farm (UCGTCF) is a community – University partnership that first began in April 2014. UCGTCF’s mission is “to conduct collaborative community-driven research, education, and extension focused on ecological farming and food justice, and to foster equitable economies, a healthy environment, and increased resilience in vulnerable communities, both urban and rural.” UCGTCF is unique among UC Berkeley gardens and farms because of its justice driven mission and the community’s active participation in farm governance. A Stewardship Assembly, Stewardship Council, and several working groups work together to lead UCGTCF.

Historically, UCGTCF has hosted students from Environmental Science Policy and Management 155 (The Sociology and Political Ecology of Agro-food Systems) and 117 (Urban Garden Ecosystems) as well as students through URAP and SPUR research apprenticeship programs. UCGTCF offers monthly harvest days and distributes its produce via the Fresh Produce Security Committee to the UC Berkeley Food Pantry.

For more information, see here.

Leaders: Jennifer Sowerwine, Jon Houghman, and Luna Fassett

View the UCGTCF 2015–2017 Biennial Report here.

UC Village Community Garden

The UC Village Community Garden first began offering garden plots to residents of the University Village in 1969 and moved to its current location in 1974. Spanning six acres in Albany, the UC Community Village Garden contains 200 plots that contain crops as diverse as the University Village families who cultivate them. University Village residents can rent plots for $10/year and university affiliated non-residents for $20/year.

Jennifer Sowerwine, a Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management faculty member, also leads a group of student interns who conduct ethnobotany and bio-cultural diversity research here.

For more information, see here.

Email: help@ucvillagegarden.net