Why a Garden?
The garden concept developed from the idea and ambition of two students whom attended the Clinton Global Initiative Conference. Two alumni, Fiona Kelly and Vinny Johl, planned, designed, and constructed the garden as a campus project during their graduate years as a project that would support university initiatives and serve as a valuable resource for faculty in supporting the sustainability learning objective. This initial proposal began a dialogue concerning the importance of food and our food systems as well as Pacific's role in generating responsible and informed citizens. A generous gift from Regent and Whole Foods MarketTM Co-CEO Walter Robb (shown to the left with his granddaughter) underwrote the garden's construction. The Robb Garden was named in honor of Regent Walter Robb's sons, Ted Robb '02 and Chris Robb '06. The Ted and Chris Robb Garden on the Stockton campus builds on the Regent-funded garden established the previous year on the Sacramento campus.
The University of the Pacific's campus community garden advances a mission and campus-wide approach to sustainability. The garden makes inter-disciplinary and practical connections to academics. Through active participation in Pacific's garden project, students, faculty, staff, and the greater Stockton community will develop profound perceptions of the environment, society, and economy. The garden will evaluate long and short-term implications for sustainability such as eating locally and nutritional benefits. Educational activities will be curricular and co-curricular involving local organizations as well as Pacific's dining services. The garden symbolizes Pacific's commitment to righteous practices and creates a learning environment suitable for all ages and disciplines. The garden is intended to be a teaching and learning laboratory for students to explore the interconnectedness between themselves and their environment; learn principles and practices of gardening that can enrich the rest of their lives; enjoy the value of shared hard work with the benefit of reaping the products of their labor; and participate with faculty, staff, students, and interested others in the neighboring Central Valley to develop a visible project that enacts the principles of responsible environmental action that are the core of our University-wide Learning Outcome for Sustainability. Agriculture and food production are part of the history and culture of the California Central Valley particularly in and around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with its rich peat soils ideal for farming. A patchwork quilt of farms provide most of the almonds, apricots, asparagus, grapes, rice, and tomatoes used in California and the United States. Our campus garden provides a connection to the land, to our community heritage, and to the food systems that sustain us.