A growing program

By Cesar Gumapas

An urban farm serves as a laboratory for students at a California college.

San Diego City College’s Seeds@City urban farm is growing in more ways than one. From its humble beginnings as a community garden 11 years ago to now an integral part of the sustainable agricultural program, the farm provides a unique, hands-on learning experience for students pursuing a career in agriculture.

“Seeds@City is a great way for students to get their hands dirty and learn what it takes to grow fresh and delicious produces,” said Erin McConnell, assistant professor for the sustainable agricultural program.

Three farm spaces are located on the City College campus. Totaling one acre of land, the sites are homes to a diverse array of fruits and vegetables, including kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage and sugar snap peas. Produce grown and harvested from the Seeds@City urban farm is sold to the campus community at a pop-up farm stand throughout the year.

The sustainable agricultural program, which serves as an outdoor lab, offers 10 course topics ranging from vegetable production to soil science, two associate degrees and three certificates (urban farming professional, urban gardening and urban gardening for the culinary arts).

Students collectively spend up to 800 hours each year working at Seeds@City doing everything from taking soil samples to harvesting produce.

Recently, students have been able to use new facilities, including a plant and soil science lab, and a kitchen lab and classroom space. A new and modern rooftop greenhouse was completed in November and will be fully operational soon.

This article comes from San Diego Community College District’s spring 2020 issue of the “With Excellence” magazine.

Cesar Gumapas

is the public information officer at San Diego City College in San Diego, California.