Courses / Herb Garden_Danny, Maggie, Leah, Britany

From: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1K2UIQzF4hYm77vFOSscbpQqTvXtGuEvXgH10Np5vztY/edit?usp=sharing


We would like to create an herb garden on the terrace at IES. This garden will include only herbs, like rosemary, thyme, lavender, and sage, as these herbs are native to the Mediterranean biome and will easily grow here for years to come. Our action is very sustainable-- students will be able to plant their favorite herbs in the IES garden to take home for use in their own kitchens, and we will be able to teach those who participate about the practices and benefits of city gardening.

1. What is the action

Our action is to create a garden on the terrace at the IES campus. We used seeds from a local gardening store, here in Barcelona. The garden contains only herbs, like rosemary, sage, lavender, and thyme, as these plants will grow easily in the Mediterranean climate without much attention or watering. We have talked with IES staff about the availability of the terrace for this garden, and we have gotten the idea approved. The garden consists of separate pots of these herbs, divided up by species. We plan to use rainwater for the limited amount of water these plants will need. Students wishing to participate are responsible for the care of their herbs, but as a group, we will oversee the general upkeep and management of the garden. we will not be using any fertilizer or chemicals in the garden, in an effort to make the project as organic and sustainable as possible. Once the herbs are ready for harvest, we plan to hold a dinner at IES, during which we will cook traditional Spanish dishes with our produce and have a market to sell the herbs that were not used in the cooking. In order to pay for this dinner we could have a flat fee for all of those wishing to participate, (5 euros) so that we could buy supplies in advance. If we have money left over, we would refund every student equally. Our action sustains local economies, and allows students to actively participate in the raising of their own food. By keeping the process small and locally-based, we are supporting a LOIS system.  Students will not only gain more extensive knowledge about gardening sustainably, but they will be able to bring this knowledge back to the United States, where other populations will be exposed to the methods as well. During the summer months, we could ask the maintenance staff, who will already be there to water the trees also on the terrace, to water the herb garden occasionally.

1.1. Similar actions from previous semesters

There was similar action done each year for the past four years.


There was action in 2010: (copyright) Kendall Murphy "Creating a Garden at IES.”

There was action from 2011: http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/Orgnanic+Student+Garden+%28Katy+and+Shelby%29&structure=2012b+Fall+Actions

Action from 2012: http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/Carla+Fischzang+Brainstorming+Page

Action from 2013: http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/Courses%3A_%3AFrom+2012+Fall+-+Garden+Implementation+%28Shono+-+Samantha+-+Angelica%29?structure=Courses%3A_%3A2013a+Spring%3A_%3AImplementing+Formerly+Designed+Actions

1.1.1. Why this or a similar action didn't succeed in previous semesters?

This action may not have succeeded in previous years because of a lack of dedication. Our garden will require upkeep and a considerable amount of attention if it is to continue after we leave IES. Previous terrace gardens did not provide enough education to the student body about what such an action would entail, and we therefore believe that, with more publicity, education, and upkeep, this terrace garden will be successful well into the future.

1.2. SWOT Analysis


  • Provides herbs for students to use in household cooking

  • Does not require energy or electricity from IES

  • Scenic addition to the school

  • Teaches the practices and benefits of city gardening

  • Is available for all students

  • Low-cost

  • Community-oriented


  • Requires some water and sunlight (must be well-placed on the terrace)

  • Requires time for upkeep

  • Requires time at initial phase

  • Small fee for seeds

  • Only herbs permitted at this time

  • Susceptible to weather variations and other extraneous factors


  • Could be expanded into a larger garden project

  • Could include educational days before herbs are planted

  • Could include school-wide cooking days after herbs are harvested

  • Could be expanded beyond IES to generate revenue

  • Could work in cooperation with other IES projects, such as the rainwater catcher

  • Could also include composting projects and other sustainable fertilizing techniques



  • Weather

  • Lack of interest

  • Summer months- no students to take care of garden

  • Small predators


SWOT Questions:

  • Those wishing to implement this action could assign certain days of the week to people in their group, and to people participating in the garden so that they can guarantee upkeep while their current class is here, and then find an arrangement with the professors to assign “gardeners” after they leave for the summer holiday

    • The summer months are inevitable

  • We will maintain publicity and education for our action, and enlist the help of others during the summer (See above), and we will also ensure that the garden is protected from bugs and other small predators with the use of organic insecticides and a protective mesh outer-layer


1.3. Feedback loops

This action is a reinforcing feedback loop. In the most technical sense, as each seed is planted, as each herb is grown, and later harvested, leaving room for more seeds to be planted, this action will forever continue in a forward-moving direction. The more seeds e plant, the more herbs we can harvest, and the more people can benefit from our action.


1.4. Advertising

We could send out a school-wide email to tell IES students about the terrace garden. Anyone interested in participating would be invited to attend a meeting, during which we would discuss the objectives of our project, and assign roles to those willing to participate. We could send around a sign-up and contact sheet, so that people can remain in contact with us, and so that we can remain in contact with them. Any questions would be answered at this meeting, and we would then be able to have an accurate head-count of those willing to actively participate for the rest of the semester. Since we do not wish to use paper to advertise our garden, we could also create a Facebook page to generate an online presence. On this page, we would be able to post pictures, recipes, and gardening tips for IES students, with the goal of attracting more participants. We could also involve professors and staff, through personal invitations and emails.


2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?

Our action, when implemented, will change the sustainability of IES Barcelona in a very positive manner.

  • Resilience: This project will be very resilient. After the production of the garden itself, the herbs will be very inexpensive to replace if something were to happen. The money that would be made by selling the initial batch of herbs would make up the money needed to replace everything in the garden at least once. The herbs will be native to Spain so there will be no need to adapt to any new environmental differences. This will help even more to increase the resilience of the garden itself.

  • Change in Attitudes: When the garden is implemented there will be a very positive change in attitudes. First off, there will be more color on the terrace which will make it a much more inviting place to hang out and spend time with classmates. Second, there will be an opportunity to purchase the herbs, which brings the production team very close to the consumers and reduces any questions about where the herbs come from. This can also lead to more people wanting to implement this garden in their own homes and apartments as they see how inviting it is, how the aroma is delightful, and how they will have wonderful herbs for all their cooking needs.

  • Reducing dependency on: This project will reduce the dependency on needing to go to a larger market to find these herbs. It allows students to see exactly where their herbs are coming from and we will be able to sell them at a reduced price than what the larger markets offer. This will keep business closer and provide a level of trust that the folks in IES may not have ever experienced with their food.

  • Ecological/Water footprints: In producing this garden we will have a waste water system as well which we will recycle water and collect rain water as well. This will cut down on the amount of water really needed to water the plants and help reduce the waste possibly produced. The rain collecting system will also help in the dry summers as there will be water available from the spring time that can be used when water is very scarce. This in turn plays out into the cradle to cradle design as we waste no water, we turn it into food, and all of the pots would be designed to withstand elements. There has also been consideration of a compost section which would provide manure from the waste of the IES students and staff. This however, will not be addressed more in this proposal.  

  • Externalization of costs: By selling the herbs produced to other students and staff at IES Barcelona, we will have money to offset costs of initial production as well as capital to spend if a catastrophe were to occur. In selling these we will also enter ourselves into a larger market and possibly make sales to larger markets as well and this can help expand how the garden will operate in the future. As for now though, we would externalize within IES and its staff and students.

  • Long term effects: Long term effects desired are the expansion of a simple herb garden into a full vegetable garden, but this can only occur if the base levels of expansion are complete. Some effects would be the level of trust between buyer and seller, knowledge of the exact spot of where the herbs were grown and treated, and the desire to start a personal herb garden at home.

  • Feedback loops: Explained in paragraph 1.3

  • Copyleft (CC): Explained in paragraph 8.1

  • Free Software: Explained in paragraph 5


2.1. Potential Costs


Our project will only cost the average IES student a couple of euros for the purchase of their seeds at the beginning of the semester. The rest of the garden supplies will be paid for by our group, as we feel it is worth the 10 euros required of each of us to start such a project. IES has agreed to let us use the terrace for this garden.

Participating students, professors, and staff will need to dedicate some time during the day to checking up on their share of the garden. At the beginning of the project, those involved will need to spend about an hour each planting their herbs. After this initial phase, however, these plants do not require much attention, and, with some consistent check-ups and minimal watering, these plants will survive on their own. We will be purchasing seeds from Herbs Barcelona, a small, locally-owned and operated botanical shop right off Ronda Sant Pere.

After the herbs and plants have reached maturity the participating students and staff can take them home for use or sell them on specified market days and possibly turn a profit which would help in the purchase of more seeds to re-start the process. IES will need to approve all sales of the herbs.The sale of the herbs will be based off of market price, but for the most part will be lower than what one would find at a local market.


3. How will you implement it

After confirming permission from IES to create a terrace garden, the students will need to agree on the type of herbs that they would like to plant, for example rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, mint, or any other type of herb that would be suitable for a mediterranean climate. After this has been done, the students will have to obtain the required material for the herb garden like simple gardening tools, pots, soil, seeds. In order to create a sustainable, “cradle to cradle” design, students should try to reuse old pots and gardening tools, and buy organic seeds and soil from a local shop such as Herbs, located on Carrer del Rec, 28. If it is not possible to find used pots and gardening tools from other IES projects or at secondhand stores located in Barcelona, students can go to Bauhaus, a large gardening center that sells a variety of horticultural products. Once all materials have been obtained, it may be useful for the group to read a few articles, for instance, “How to Plant an Herb Garden” featured on HowStuffWorks.com (http://home.howstuffworks.com/how-to-grow-an-herb-garden.htm) in order to gain a better understanding of the herb-growing process.


Finally, after having gathered the required knowledge and materials, students will be able to implement the action. Although it is not mandatory, it’s advised that students divide the different types herbs into different pots (for example, plant rosemary in one pot, basil in another, etc.). After the seeds have been planted, the seeds will need to be lightly watered and placed in an area that receives enough sunlight on a day to day basis. Each week, it will be necessary for a student or two to check up on the herbs, and make sure that they are receiving all basic necessities.


After several weeks, the herbs should begin to sprout. At this points students will be able to cut herbs from the pots, in order to sell them to other IES students and staff members for a small price. The group, if so desires, may also use the herbs to create small dishes of food, baked goods, or beauty products (like lotions, perfumes, or hand soaps) to sell.


The group will advertise their herbs and products through flyers on recycled flyers or online through the IES websites.

3.1. Prototype (or Proof of Concept)


3.2. "Cradle to Cradle" design

The terrace herb garden is a “cradle to cradle” design because there is little to no waste being created in it’s implementation. Although the project requires certain materials, such as pots, gardening tools, seeds, etc. the students are using reused pots and tools, instead of purchasing new ones. Ideally these tools would also be made out of natural materials, like wood, and metals, rather than plastic, so that they are not contributing to landfills, but rather will one day degrade into the earth. Soil should be purchased in biodegradable bags rather than plastic, and the organic seeds should be purchased in paper packages that will then be recycled. Online advertisements for the herbs will create no waste, and any flyers created should then be recycled.


Secondly, the design is “cradle to cradle” because it is self-perpetuating. Each semester a new group of students will be able to maintain the project, and future profits will be recycled back into maintaining the action.

3.3. Flyers

We plan to advertise primarily through the use of the internet, and only if necessary through the use of flyers. If flyers are created, they should be processed on recycled paper, and be recycled after their use.

3.4. Incentives

Students who participate in our project will be allowed to take one portion of herbs each week free of charge. Other IES students and faculty members, likewise, will have an incentive to purchase the herbs, because they are local, organic and promoting community development. Lastly, as an extra incentive, we plan to sell our herbs at a very reasonable price, so that everyone can afford them.

3.5. Relationship with the Other initiatives being implemented

At this point, our sustainable herb garden has no relationship with other initiatives being implemented, however if another project would be interested in creating a vegetable garden, or something similar, it could be possible that they two projects could team up in order to sell simple dishes like salads, juices, or raw snacks.

3.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?

Future IES students and staff will be able to sustain the action when we leave. On the IES website we will make an ad for future students interested in working with the project, and from there can put an IES staff member in charge of assigning particular tasks to students and in seeing that the overall goals of the project are continuing to be carried out correctly.

3.7. Comparison to similar actions from previous semesters

In many ways our project is similar to that of the “Garden Implementation” project designed in the Fall of 2012. Unlike this project, however, we have chosen to grow herbs, simpler and more profitable plants for our project. Although we would one day like our project to progress into a larger vegetable garden, for the time being, we feel that it is necessary to start small, and give time for students to understand gardening basics before moving on to something more more advanced. Because herbs are easier to grow, and require less maintenance than other plants, which is important, because we don’t want to burden our student volunteers and staff with time-consuming jobs. Our project also differs from the “Garden Implementation” Project of 2012 because we plan to make a profit from our herbs, and for the profit to go back into the herb garden community.

4. Time-sheet / Chronogram

4.2. What has been done this semester?

Currently this semester we have only done the research that would go into this action plan. This included researching which stores around Barcelona sell the materials that would be needed for the herb garden. We also talked to Cesar and he approved of the idea of having an herb garden on the IES terrace.

4.3. What needs to be done to repeat the action in the future?
































Who will do it



Students will need to discuss with IES the possibility of IES purchasing materials. If they cannot do this then the first set of students will purchase the pots to be used.

Student 1- can email IES or discuss with them in person.

All- can put in money to help start off the project.



Most IES students will be settled in at this point so students in the group can put up posters explaining the project. The group can also ask teachers to promote the project in class.

At this point people can purchase their own seeds in order to plant them.

Student2- can put up posters around IES

All- can help spread the word about the project.



Students in the group will oversee the project to make sure that plants are getting sufficient amounts of water. They will also continue spreading the word about planting herbs.

All- everyone can continue spreading the word and making sure that the garden is running smoothly.



Since this is the same time that Semana Santa occurs and students are not in school the group can discsuss with IES a way to make sure that the herbs are getting a little bit of water each week. At this point the group can remind IES students that with the end of the semester approaching they can take their plants home or leave whatever herbs they want to.

Student 3- can discuss with IES to make sure that plants are being taken care of.

Student 1- can hang a poster reminding other IES students to take their plants.

All- can work on communicating the information.



Students participating  in summer session can also make use of the garden.Students in the previous group can leave posters up explaining the terrace garden.  

Previous group members- will leave posters up around IES and will also talk to professors about discussing the terrace garden in their classes.



Students can plant their own seeds in the garden and will have to maintain the garden through summer session.




Students will continue with the maintenance of the garden and could also post new ideas about how to use the garden.




During this month there are no students at IES so students have to rely on IES staff to keep the garden running.

IES staff



With this being the start of the semester the professor of the sustainability class can see if there is a group of students that would be interested in continuing on with the terrace garden project.




The students this semester would have to make sure that all supplies that are needed are available, and if not more supplies will need to be purchased either with the help of IES or with their own funds. Hopefully at this point IES will be able to contribute some money toward the project.

Student 1- can discuss with IES any changes that their group will be making with the project.

All- contribute to making sure there are enough supplies to keep the garden running.



Students of the group will hang poster to advertise the garden to the rest of the students. They could also promote this project to their classmates through the help of their professor.

Student 2- can make a new poster or reuse one used the previous semester.

Student 3- hang posters around IES building.



All plants would be planted at this time and students would also make sure that any plants left over from the semester before would be getting proper nutrients.

The group could arrange it where each member of the group would have one week out of the month where during that week it was their responsibility to check on the terrace garden.



Students of the group would make sure that IES staff could take care of the plants until a new group of students could take over the terrace garden.

With new students coming in the professor if possible could offer maintaining the garden as a form of extra credit.

All/ IES staff



New students would check for materials and hang posters. It would also be good if word about the terrace garden were to be spread through forms of social media. Also, students in the group could have IES email about the terrace garden.

Student 1- check for materials.

Student 2- creation/ hanging posters

Student 3- use social media/ discussion with IES about sending an email




Continue with maintenance of the garden and could discuss ways to increase the garden. Students could also take a survey of IES students to see what other students would want in the garden.

All- would continue with maintaining the garden.

Student 1- create a survey that IES students would take.

Student 2- post survey on social media.

Student 3- have IES send out the survey through an email.



Remind IES students to take their plants home. Members of the group will clean up and put away remaining pots and materials for the summer. Will ask IES staff to water remaining plants over summer.

All- can help with cleanup for the summer.



Students participating  in summer session can also make use of the garden.Students in the previous group can leave posters up explaining the terrace garden. Also, the group can ask IES professors to discuss the benefits of the terrace garden with the new students.

Previous group members- will leave posters up around IES and will also talk to professors about discussing the terrace garden in their classes.



Students can plant their own seeds in the garden and will have to maintain the garden through summer session. If students are in a sustainability class then they can help spread the word about the garden.




Students will continue with maintenance of garden.




Rely on IES staff to keep the garden running.

IES staff



Students in the new group will decide on any changes that they want to make toward the terrace garden. They will make sure that information about the terrace garden is available to all students and will make sure that supplies are accessible.

All- decide on changes.

Student 1- check on supplies

Student 2- make sure there is information in IES.



Garden will be maintained and other IES students can sign up to help with the garden.

Student 3- create a monthly sign up sheet for other IES students/



Continued maintenance of garden with social media updates and a new survey asking for ideas.

All- maintenance

Student 1- use of social media

Student 2- creation of survey.



Cleanup of the garden before end of semester and remind students to take their plants.

All- cleanup/ reminders



5. Document format (NOT NEEDED FOR 3/15)

We used GoogleDocs to collaborate on our project.

The link can be found here:


6. Bibliography


7. Other References

One place that students can go to buy herbs in Barcelona is a store actually called Herbs, which is located at Carrer del Rec, 28 (Barcelona). Next to Pg. Del Born.


Bauhaus is the name of a larger chain that has an entire garden center, here students can purchase pots or extra soil or supplies that they may need. This store is located at Passeig de la Zona Franca, 99-105 (Barcelona). Between Foc i Alts Forns.


This website also has an entire search option that students can use to find nurseries and garden equipment stores. http://barcelona.angloinfo.com/af/432/barcelona-garden-equipment-and-nurseries.html


The Botanical garden is a good place for students to go while in Barcelona if they are looking for more information about plants or just want an idea about what plants are natural to the Mediterranean environment. This Botanical Garden is located at Carrer del Doctor Font i Quer, 2, 08038 Barcelona, Spain. Students can get more information at their website http://w110.bcn.cat/portal/site/MuseuDeCiencies/menuitem.a5e780716128291a1b69d9d1387409a0/?vgnextoid=0000000418870099VgnV6CONT00000000000RCRD&lang=en_GB.


8. Annexes

http://jp2.r0tt.com/t_f60161d0-4f71-11e1-9362-fb71c2800002.jpg (image of terrace garden)

8.1. Copyright license of your report

We intend for this project to be completely open to suggestions and working, much like a wiki site would be. It is our dream that this project will take off and use the resources we have provided as a group. Due to the fact that this is our intellectual property, we would ask that groups would acknowledge our presence in the project and include our name in any printed page about the garden. We would like it to read as such, “The Intellectual Property of this report belong to Daniel Glass, Margaret Fixler, Britany Kababov, and Leah Motherbaugh with a CC license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/”

8.2. What did you learn and what did you incorporate from the feedback received?

We received a lot of feedback about the maintenance of the garden as well as the possibility of the students in charge of caring for the garden neglecting their duties as a caretaker. We have decided to add a professor to oversee the whole operation. This professor can be one of the Environmental Studies professors or another that is very interested in gardening. This professor will help facilitate the beginning of the semester in taking new students in and showing them how to care for the garden. If a student misses a shift they receive a warning, if it is done twice then the student will no longer be a part of the care taking team, which we hope does not happen. The professor will also designate other faculty members to help care for the garden in times when students are not in session or on a break.

8.3. Acknowledgements

If and when this action is implemented these would be the following people who would have helped along the way and deserve our gratitude.

We would like to thank the IES staff for their involvement and help in finding space for our project on the terrace as well as allowing us and believing in us to do this project. We would like to thank the students who bought a plot in the garden. If it weren’t for them this garden would have no life.  We would also like to thank the workers at Herbs Barcleona, Herbs, and Bauhuas for their assistance in finding the proper seeds for us to use in the garden according to light exposure, temperature, and climate. Lastly, we would like to the Olga Invers for her knowledge and assistance along the way and providing us with the motivation to get a project like this started.

8.4. Students involved in this action

Leah Mothersbaugh: Worked on paragraphs 3 and 6 in their entirety. Lead the discussions and research in this category.

Maggie Fixler: Summary, worked on paragraphs 1 and 5 in their entirety. Lead the discussions and research in this category.

Britany Kabakov: Worked on paragraphs 4 and 7 in their entirety. Lead the discussions and research in this category.

Danny Glass: Worked on paragraphs 2 and 8 in their entirety. Lead the discussions and research in this category.

Page last modified on Sunday 19 of April, 2015 11:48:50