Orgnanic Student Garden (Katy and Shelby)


The objective of an organic student garden would be to create awareness with regards to organic food efficiency as well as creating a movement to reduce food waste not only at IES but throughout your personal life. Organic gardening not only serves as a form of exercise, but also has been used as a relaxation technique. By getting students involved in the production of a student garden, we would not only increase the aesthetic appeal of the IES terrace, but also inadvertently create a cohesiveness between the students, as well as an understanding and appreciation with regards to the advantages of growing your own food.
Examples of Products:

__Similar Actions from previous semesters:

In the “Fall of 2010” there was a project which outlined the same goals for an organic student garden (copyright: Kendall Murphy "Creating a Garden at IES") Consequently, there was also a project which outlined specifically the formation of an “organic tomato garden”, (Copyright: Carla Fischzang) where only tomatoes were grown as opposed to a variety of foods. The main differences between what these two projects proposed and what I propose is what specifically would be grown in the garden. The original student garden proposal outlined several herbs that would be grown in the garden, including lavender, parsley, mint, oregano and rosemary. Alternatively, the “organic tomato garden” proposed the planting solely of tomatoes. I believe that students should be able to choose exactly what they wish to grow, so that these plants are therefore utilized to their fullest potential and do not go to waste. By allowing the students themselves to choose, I believe it would make students more likely to participate. I also believe that it would increase the likelihood of the program carrying on in the future years.

__SWOT Analysis:

-reducing cost of food purchases
-organically grown/locally produced= less risk of ingestion of toxic chemicals
-utilize a popular relaxation technique while also getting exercise
-reduction in energy use, creates awareness in terms of organic use, composting, etc
-requires a collaborative effort between students
-organizing finances efficiently
-maintaining garden throughout course of semester
-creating cohesion between the students of IES
-enabling students with a more affordable and healthy means of vegatble/herb/fruit consumption
-reduces dependency on outside producers
-Lack or organization/willingness amongst students
-foul weather implications

__Feedback Loops

There is a reinforcing loop, where when students plant their own food organically, there is a reduction in buying from supermarkets, decreasing energy use as well as inorganic waste. There is also a balancing loop, where students are able to produce their own organic products, later compost them, and repeat the process. Through this a continuous cycle would be maintained, as well as increasing a sustainable gardening awareness.


In terms of advertising, there will be several methods used to appeal to students. Upon your initial arrival, students will be informed of the production of a student garden. The garden and its products would be advertised on the IES website, as well as through an introductory email stating the focus of the garden. Also, during orientation, a tapas sampler should be made available to students using products from a similarly maintained organic garden, promoting not only taste quality but also uses of different organic products in various food items.
Why this action makes things more sustainable:
-little cost
-self sufficient
-locally produced/ produced naturally
-little to no environmental impact
-promotes organic food consumption which includes composting

__Potential Benefits:

There are many benefits that would be created with the formation of an organic student garden. Not only would students be able to consume food that are both healthy and free of chemical toxins, they would also be supporting local businesses’, or the LOIS business model. Self-sufficiency would also be a direct result of this implication, as well as creating awareness with regards to the differences between locally grown products and products purchased in supermarkets. These differences include taste, cost as well as overall production (value.)

__Potential Costs:

The potentially costs for maintaining a sustainable organic garden would include the costs of the seeds and/or young plants, the soil which would be transported and used, as well as large plant pots or troughs for larger plants. All of these necessities are not particularly expensive; however they would require a certain amount of care from the participating students. Luckily the weather in Barcelona does not experience much in means of extremes, so it would be extremely unlikely that the plants would suffer from various natural disasters.
Examples of Costs:
Packet of tomato seeds: from $.99 usd- $3.25
Packet of lettuce seeds: from $1.99
Packet of Rosemary seeds: from $6.99


First, a general consensus would have to be made in order to choose when planting should begin, as well as which plants/herbs should be planted. After a survey of the students, specific plants should be chosen for purchase. Some examples of plants/vegetables include tomatoes, lettuce, squash, cucumbers, peppers, as well as parsley, mint and rosemary. IES should then provide both seeds and planting material for the participating students (ie: soils, planting pots, troughs, etc). A date should be set for the initial planting, and it should be made into an event available to all IES students as part of initial orientation. The chosen plants would then be planted, and specific chores would be assigned to students in terms of garden maintenance. People should then sign up for usage of the grown products, based on what they feel would be of most use to them personally. As the plants begin to grow and produce organic products, a cooking competition of sorts should be organized using all of the products grown, which would not only promote the purpose of this project, but also create a fun way for students to learn how to grow, and then cook, organically. A possible expansion of this project would be to look into eventually establishing some sort of student farmers market, where students could exchange various products grown or even possibly open it to the public.

__Cradle to Cradle design:

An organic student garden does many things which promote a cradle to cradle design. In many ways this garden can be considered efficient, as we would be utilizing not only the natural amenities of Barcelona, but also the space provided on the new IES terrace. We would be using natural sunlight as a means of growing these plants, as well as utilizing resources to create products. These methods are also essentially waste free, seeing as all of these products are naturally grown, and can all also be composted naturally. Through these means we are able to establish a cradle to cradle design.

__Questions for the Unified Survey:

Would you participate in the initial planting of products in an organic student garden?
a. Yes
b. No
c. Maybe
Would you utilize products grown in an organic student garden?
a. Yes
b. No
c. Maybe

__Analysis of the Survey:

The analysis of the survey is not fully reliable, based on the too few responses submitted. However, after asking various classmates, it seems that people would in fact be keen on the creation of a student run garden. As costs are high being a student abroad, as a means to save while also being organically friendly, students pose no opposition to this project.


There are various both personal and community wide incentives which would be created with the establishment of an organic student garden. Personally, students would be able to save money by growing their basic vegetables as well as herbs. Community wide, these locally produced goods are not only environmentally friendly, but they also cut down on waste as well as energy use. Other incentives could possibly include a free dinner at the end of the semester, as well as the possiblity of earning some form of "points" which could also be redeemed at the end of the term.

__Relationship to the Sustainability Club:

This project would be carried out by the students of IES, and run directly through IES. There would be no outside funds required for its production, so there would therefore be very little link to the sustainability club.

__How will this action be sustained while you are not here?

The student garden would, in theory, become an annual event for the different semesters of students abroad. The resources should be made continually available, however, this project in many ways is directly related to the interest level of the students. The means for maintaining the garden will be there, however, like many projects, there needs to be a certain level of interest upheld by the students who wish to participate.
As of now, I have contacted a friend who will be studying abroad at IES during the spring of 2013. Her name is Kelly Conlin and she has agreed to maintain and generate interest in terms of the formation and continued upkeeping of an organic student garden.

__Who will do what?

Students: students will be required to not only generate interest in the production of the garden, but will also be required to pick out plants/herbs which would be planted, as well as the overall maintenance of the garden itself. There should be one elected "leader" of the project, who provides direction and feedback, and oversees the overall maintenance of the garden itself.
IES: IES would provide students with the necessary materials that would be needed to initially start the garden, which include soil, seeds, as well as pots of various sizes. IES should also work with students in order to create events which utilize the products of the garden, which could possibly include some sort of cooking class or competition.

__Comparison to similar actions from previous semesters:

In many ways this project is related to a similar project outlined in the Fall of 2010. However, the main difference is that instead of producing plants for a general group of students, students would specifically be able to choose what they wish to be planted. Both require cooperation by not only IES, but a group of students who maintain a certain degree of interest in preserving the garden. With cohesive cooperation I, as well as the Fall of 2010 outline, believe this project could be very successful.

__Document Format:

One word document would be utilized in this project: style, html. available for editing as well as sharing.
Copyright License of your report: CC

__Time Sheet/ Chronogram:

September: Idea of garden will be proposed, group of students will be established, choices of plants will be made.
Late September: Soil will be potted, seeds will be planted.
October: Plants will be watered, maintained.
Late October/ Early November: plants/herbs will be collected, distributed/ utilized
November: Maintenance of plants continues, harvest of products continues
December: As winter sets in plants/pots are cleaned up and stored for use next semester.
These steps can also be repeated during the Spring Semester, with the steps paired up according to month as follows. (Due to the fact that the weather progressively gets warmer as opposed to colder, the steps should in most cases be reversed.)
End of January: Initial idea would be proposed, set up would begin as seen during Septemeber of a fall semester
Febraury: Planting materials would be collected and set up, as well as various seeds.
March: As the weather progressively becomes warmer the plants will be planted and watered regularly. Students will be assigned to various tasks in order to maintain the garden.
April: Various plants will continue to be watered, and with regards to germination periods shall be harvested accordingly and distrubuted as the students see fit.
May: Final Plants will be harvested, garden troughs will be packed and stored for the summer.
Example of growth Period: Tomato plants can take anywhere from 2-3 months to become fully ready for harvest
ie: plants chosen must fit into this time frame



__ANNEXES: none

Students involved: Katy O’Hanlon

Page last modified on Tuesday 18 of December, 2012 19:28:57