Growing a Sustainable Food System


Students at Pacific have many opportunities to learn first-hand about our food system and take action by growing and harvesting food, getting food into the hands of people who need it, and working toward a healthier and more sustainable food system.

Growing & Harvesting Food

Want to learn how to grow food? Pacific students have many options. The Center for Civic Engagement collaborates with Metro and the Pacific Environmental Studies program to support sustainable food production at the B Street Living Museum Permaculture Project, one mile south of campus. Whether through a course, work-study position, or volunteering out of personal interest, students assist with sustainable crop production and weed removal, care of farm animals, and harvesting food.

Some students also spend time in the Cedar Street Community Garden and Maple Street Community Garden , which are both public gardens open to residents of Forest Grove with a fee-based system for allocating plots. In 1996, the university donated land and water to establish the Cedar Street Garden, located on Cedar St. between 23rd and 24th Avenues. Through the efforts of the Center for Civic Engagement staff, Pacific students, and community members, the community garden has become a resource that provides growing space for vegetables, flowers, herbs, and fruit. Generous support from Metro, the Community Enhancement Project, and World Seed Fund has made development of the garden's infrastructure possible and has provided seeds and tools for its members. The Maple Street Community Garden has plots for Adelante Mujeres and the Oregon Food Bank. Pacific students often harvest food from Maple Street as part of the Food Rescue program. Other students and alumni have worked at local farms. Wherever students choose to go, they can work with other students, faculty, staff, and/or community members to learn about growing and harvesting food in a sustainable manner. Many students also work to provide food to those who need it.

Advocating for a Sustainable Food System

Students can use their knowledge and skills to work toward more sustainable food production on the systemic level. Pacific students have held internships at the Dairy Creek Community Food Web, which brings people together "to grow, process, share and celebrate food." Student groups such as ECA Core often take up food-related causes. During orientation, students on the Civic Engagement Voyage participate in service projects related to growing and distributing food, and learn about how to create change in the food system. Some seniors focus on food-related issues for their senior projects.

For current civic engagement opportunities, please also visit our Civic Engagement Opportunity Blog.