By Erin Zimmerer and Jamie Garcia
The Lobo Gardens effort saw its beginnings in December of 2009, when then freshman, Alex Borowski, took it upon himself to plant the first ever on-campus vegetable garden near the Hokona residence hall.
Shortly thereafter, Borowski was forced to uproot his garden by the University of New Mexico Physical Plant Department due to lack of permission, however, since then, Lobo Gardens have blossomed in four locations on and off campus, including the location of Borowski’s original garden.
The gardens operate as a part of the UNM Office of Sustainability and are run by Coordinator, Mona Angel, a graduate student at UNM. Angel is enthusiastic about spreading the word about the gardens even further through the university community, but as the gardens currently stand, they are active and thriving.
“The Lobo Gardens are open to everyone, and we hope that as time goes on more and more UNM departments will use them as an outdoor classroom. We have five departments using them currently,” said Angel. “At any given time there are a variety of projects and students working in the gardens. We are also working on outreach to let UNM students know more about them, and we have some great Lobo Gardens classes, which can be found on our website.”
Courses dealing directly with the gardens for the 2012 spring semester will include: Growers’ Market Practicum (SUST 364), Sustainable Foodsheds (CRP 470), Anthropology & Local Small Farming (ANTH 340) and Permaculture Design I/II (SUST 402).
Angel said that all students are eligible to register for these classes, and encouraged to participate in sustainability and garden projects on campus and in the community regardless of their major.
“Over the course of the fall and spring semesters we have a series of Lobo Gardens Mini-Workshops where students can learn more about growing their own food in sustainable ways,” said Angel.
According to the group’s Facebook page, as the projects and gardens continue to expand, they hope to serve as “a learning site for younger school students (K-12) as an opportunity to participate in mentoring and pipeline experiences with university students.” They also want to expand local food production in Albuquerque and the greater New Mexico area.
“To make this happen,” said Dan Young, Director of the Research Service Learning Program, “we will be assembling a mobile garden installation vehicle with funding provided by the Albuquerque Community Foundation, which will travel to potential garden sites to help community partners with the heavy initial working of putting in a new garden.”
Students can work with the mobile garden installation vehicle as a part of a three-credit course called “Lobo Gardens,” which was first offered in the summer of 2010, and has gained momentum ever since.
To learn more about Lobo Gardens and view past and current projects, check out their Youtube video and websites.