The Organic Garden Organizational Structure

Two entities are involved in the maintenance and operation of the garden: the Agroecology program and the Organic Garden Club. Funding for the garden comes primarily from the Agroecology program, headed by the Department’s Associate Chair and Graduate Program Director. The two faculty advisors approve and fund student garden projects on both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and guide the directives of all aspects of the garden.

Prior to 2011, most operational management functions at the garden were performed by the President of the Garden Club, under the advisement of faculty. There were two undergraduate club presidents from 2008 through 2010, and both were students within the Agroecology program. Since 2011, the garden has been managed by an Agroecology Program graduate student as part of his or her research assistantship. Management responsibilities shift to a new graduate student each year, as the sitting manager moves on to focus on thesis-related research. Also, the Agroecology Program Director, a position created in 2011 and currently held by a graduate of the M.S. program, facilitates the work of the garden manager and coordinates workshops, visits from outside students, and other events.

The Garden Club maintains several community gardening plots and meets weekly at the garden to work on these plots and to discuss projects, events, and administrative issues. Some of the produce from these plots is shared among club members, and a portion of the produce is harvested for sale at the weekly on-campus farmers’ market. Some of the sales revenue is reinvested into the garden (for the purchase of seeds and supplies), with a portion of revenue allocated to other Garden Club functions. (The Garden Club also receives funds from the university’s Council for Student Organizations.) Thus, while the garden is funded primarily through the Agroecology program, some financial support is provided by the Garden Club.

Much of the labor required to operate the garden is provided by students on a voluntary basis, especially through the Garden Club. However, beginning Spring 2012 the Agroecology Department instituted a new policy requiring some of its undergraduate scholarship students to fulfill four hours of garden work per week, thus providing a steady flow of student labor to the Garden.