Equity and Inclusion in Campus Gardens and Land Use Decisions

Equity and Inclusion in Campus Gardens and Land Use Decisions

Project Lead: Megan “Meg” Prier

Project Sponsor: Berkeley Food Institute (BFI)

TGIF Grant: $20,900

Project Theme: Environmental Justice

Application Submission

Project Description: UC Berkeley is home to a growing network of gardens that capture student interest in urban agriculture and greening and respond to urban sustainability, food security, environmental health, and climate change resilience. Many of these gardens are student led and maintained with specific functions for food production, education, research, and/or cultural representation. In 2016-2017, a strategic plan for campus farms and gardens was conducted across campus that revealed challenges of equity and inclusion in gardening spaces that mirrors those in national and Bay Area urban agriculture. These unequally prioritize white and privileged spaces, disconnecting from communities of color, facing food insecurity, and with historical and cultural ties to land and food production. The strategic planning process also revealed a campus land use decision making process that lacks transparency, effective community input processes, and focus on equity and structurally prioritize the preferences of those with power and funding. This project aims to respond to the equity and inclusion challenges related to campus gardens and land use planning with student leadership and voices from underrepresented communities. A paid student Outreach and Equity Fellow and two student Working Group Coordinators will coordinate and facilitate collaborative discussion with underrepresented communities to better understand challenges, brainstorm, and initiate cultural and structural challenges to improve inclusion, diversity and representation.

Project Goals: 

Equity in Campus Gardens:

  1. Modify culture and initiate long-term structural changes to increase inclusion of gardening spaces.
  2. Increase diversity of engagement opportunities to match the needs and visions of underrepresented students.
  3. Increase visibility and diversity of narratives around urban agriculture, agriculture, food and land that highlights the experiences and perspectives of underrepresented communities, particularly those with historical connections to agriculture and land

Land Use Planning Working Group:

  1. Create a cross-campus and community working group on campus land use planning with relevant students, staff, faculty, administrators and members of the Berkeley and Bay Area urban agriculture community that represent marginalized and underrepresented communities
  2. For the Working Group to develop a document of ideas and recommendations for campus planners, campus researchers, and the campus community at large to inform campus planning documents including the: Campus Landscape Master Plan and Long Range Development Plan
  3. Create and trial a community input process for campus planning decisions