No matter how fervently Punxsutawney Phil tried to convince us otherwise, the secret’s out: Spring has arrived. And what better way to welcome the beautiful weather than by donning a pair of gardening gloves and shoveling a hearty batch of manure?

Lucky for you there’s Memorial Victory Garden, a student-run project designed to raise awareness about sustainable development and the innumerable benefits of home-grown food. Originally utilized during the world wars as a solution to heavy rationing, victory gardens have seen a revival in recent years as environmental concerns become increasingly urgent.

Melissa Smith, one of the group’s founding members, says that the idea for the Memorial Victory Garden first took root (bad pun on our part) last semester and came into being with the help of Jim Corner Horner, campus landscape architect and manager for Capital Projects. The concept was borne of a desire to not only promote secure food systems but to also emphasize the ease of cultivating one’s own crops by making the garden accessible to the entire campus.

Located on what was formerly a construction staging area between Evans Hall and Memorial Glade, the garden in its finished form will serve as an interactive educational site during, but certainly not limited to, Earth Week 2009. With the continued help of a dedicated work force, as well as pending ASUC grants, the group’s leaders hope to see it flourish through the coming summer.


Dedication definitely doesn’t seem to be problem for these gardeners. Though only in its beginning stages, the Memorial Victory Garden is already beginning to take shape at the hands of a core troupe numbering about 15 to 20 people, with help and donations from the Student Organic Gardening DeCal as well as Full Belly Farm. And their ranks are slowly growing as students passing by drop in, pick up a hammer and some nails, and happily go to work.

Tim Kline, another of the original creators, is eager to stress that anyone—literally anyone—is welcome to volunteer. “What I like about it is it’s just a big team effort,” said Kline. “There’s no hierarchy.” So if you’re itching to get your hands dirty, check out the Memorial Victory Garden website or drop them a line. They’ll welcome you with open arms and a pile of the finest fertilizer nature has to offer.

Ah, victory never smelled so sweet. Especially honorable victory.

Image Source: Diana Newby
Memorial Victory Garden [Google Group]

Notes from the Field » Sustainable Garden Sprouts Up on Campus said:
Mar 3, 2009 at 5:48 pm

[...] are few things more satisfying than being self-sufficient, and with the implementation of the new Memorial Victory Garden, Berkeley students can be more self-sufficient than ever and learn how to harvest their own food, [...]

Robert J. Weizeljammen said:
Mar 11, 2009 at 10:10 pm

This may be a stupid question, but how will they keep anyone-literally anyone-from wantonly using the bounteous harvest to satiate their munchies?

anya said:
Mar 19, 2009 at 10:40 am

Nitpick- It’s Jim Horner, not Corner.

Evante Garza-Licudine said:
Mar 19, 2009 at 11:34 am

Thanks for the correction, anya.