Stewardship Garden

Stewardship GardenStewardship Garden

The UST Stewardship Garden was created in 2010 by Adam Kay, Megan Sheridan, and Aaron Hays, with help from several student clubs at the University of St. Thomas (MN). The project is motivated by a need for a strong, just and local food production system, and its goals are to provide an important service to nearby low-income communities, create research and educational opportunities for UST students, and build community relationships on campus and with neighborhood residents. It is located along the southwestern edge of the UST St. Paul campus, near the Mississippi River.

Research and Education

Urban agriculture research and development is becoming increasingly important as over half the world’s population live in cities.  Urban agriculture will likely be part of how society meets this growing need for fresh and safe food. The UST Stewardship Garden demonstrates ways in which urban areas can be transformed to improve social and environmental conditions without sacrificing the aesthetics of the landscape. It also provides a venue for independent research by UST students and faculty and a site for educational activities. In addition, the presence of a vegetable garden on campus provides a platform for discussing environmental sustainability and the importance of a just food system.

Service

A portion of the produce from the Stewardship Garden is donated to local food shelves.  In 2011 and 2012, the garden donated over 2000 lbs. of tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables, to Neighbors Inc., the Emergency Food Shelf Network, and the Dorothy Day Center. We would love to collaborate with other local gardens to expand these and similar efforts.

Community Building

All too often, St. Thomas students and university neighbors have late-night interactions that reflect poorly on the university community.  The garden has provided an opportunity to build positive ties between the university and its neighbors through something that connects humanity in a fundamental way – food.

Stewardship GardenGarden Competition 2014

Want to be a part of the Competition? Fill out the simple survey here https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HJ9NZMV

Description of Competition

This year we are in part two of a two year project, which is a competition among our UST community and larger community. Last year we did preliminary research on optimal fertilizer amounts and water management techniques using mulch as a substitute for watering. We used the results from last year to inform this year’s competition design.

This year participants from across the university and across the urban agriculture community designed their plot based on four simple choices: fertilizer type (synthetic v. compost), fertilizer amount (high v. low), water management technique (mulch/no water v. no mulch/water), and plant type (heirloom v. conventional). We are growing the plots according to their specifications, weighing the produce from the plots, quantifying environmental impacts, and involving and educating the community throughout the process. All produce from the Stewardship Garden is donated to Neighbors, Inc.

Leann Luecke

Leann Luecke

Why we are doing it?

The mission of the Stewardship Garden from the beginning has been to create a more just and local food system. We combine intense scientific research, which contributes to best practices in the field of urban agriculture, with community service and education, informing the public about the growing need for sustainable, urban agriculture. We hope to provide a community service aspect through donation of the produce that comes from the garden.

Choices               

     
Fertilizer Type Compost Synthetic
Fertilizer Amount High Low
Water Management Mulch/No water No mulch/Water
Plant Type Conventional Heirloom

Participants

UST President, Dr. Sullivan, The Minneapolis Health Department, Whole Foods, Russ Henry from Giving Tree Gardens, Neighbors, Inc., and many others

How you win?

The winner of the competition will be based on the plot with the highest yield and the lowest environmental impact. Analysis of environmental impacts include nutrient run-off, measured with a lysimeter, human labor, and input costs.

Garden Layout -

North

1 Organic
Low
Mulch
Heirloom
2 Synthetic  High
Mulch
Heirloom
3 Organic
High
No Mulch Conventional
4 Organic
Low
No Mulch Conventional
5 Synthetic
High
No Mulch Heirloom
6 Synthetic
High
No Mulch Heirloom
7 Organic
High
No Mulch Heirloom
8 Organic
Low
Mulch Conventional
9 Synthetic
High
Mulch
Heirloom
10 Synthetic  Low
Mulch
Heirloom
11 Synthetic  High
Mulch Conventional
12 Synthetic  High
Mulch Conventional
13 Organic
High
Mulch
Heirloom
14 Organic
Low
No Mulch Heirloom
15 Organic
High
Mulch Conventional
16 Organic
Low
No Mulch Heirloom
17 Synthetic  Low
No Mulch Conventional
18 Organic
High
No Mulch
Heirloom
19 Organic
Low
Mulch Conventional
20 Synthetic  Low
No Mulch Heirloom
21 Synthetic  Low
Mulch Conventional
22 Organic
High
Mulch Conventional
23 Organic
Low
Mulch
Heirloom
24 Synthetic  High
No Mulch Conventional
25 Synthetic  Low
Mulch
Heirloom
26 Organic
High
No Mulch Conventional
27 Synthetic  Low
Mulch Conventional
28 Organic
Low
No Mulch Conventional
29 Synthetic  Low
No Mulch Conventional
30 Organic
High
Mulch
Heirloom
31 Synthetic  High
No Mulch Conventional
32 Synthetic  Low
No Mulch Heirloom