On-campus garden nourishes Pacific

On-campus garden nourishes Pacific

April 14 is National Gardening Day, and Pacific has much to celebrate with the Ted and Chris Robb Garden on the Stockton Campus.

There are plants, flowers and abundant produce along with the sheer solitude that comes from a walk through the beautiful grounds.

Robb Garden also is important as the university deals with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The garden is open to pick up free produce from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. A Pacific ID is needed or a donation can be made, said Pacific Sustainability Director Jessica Bilecki.

Garden Coordinator Nick Tamayo does much of the work by himself while most students are away from campus due to COVID-19. Some students do remain, however, and they have come to rely on the produce, herbs and other Robb Garden staples.

“We are a bit between growing seasons right now,” Bilecki said.

Robb Garden has been a popular and important campus treasure since the first phase was completed fall 2012. The idea for a campus food garden on Pacific's Stockton Campus first arose from former Pacific students Fiona Kelly ’08 and Vinny Johl ‘10. Their vision was made possible by a gift from former Pacific Regent Walter Robb, who, at the time, was CEO of Whole Foods.

“The garden means different things to different people,” Bilecki said. “For some, it gives them an opportunity to see tangible results—that they can grow something.

“There also is a definite social aspect to the garden. We plant some crops that have cultural values to campus populations. That can help promote understanding.”