Hoya Harvest Garden

The Hoya Harvest Garden is creating a sense of shared responsibility around sustainable food systems by integrating farming spaces into the campus, generating food for the community, hands-on learning experiences, and dialogue around human impacts and food production.

The Challenge

Conventional food systems in the United States are widely acknowledged as having negative environmental and social impacts, with serious consequences for both people and the planet. Food production is responsible for more than a fourth of global greenhouse gas emissions, mass deforestation and topsoil loss, and waterways polluted by excessive fertilizers and pesticides. At the same time, food security is increasingly at risk due to climate change and millions of people remain food-insecure. For further reading, please view our Suggested Reading List.

The Solution

In light of these challenges, the Earth Commons is thrilled to announce the launch of Hoya Harvest – a new gardening initiative aimed at creating a sense of shared-responsibility around sustainable food systems by integrating farming spaces into the campus – ultimately generating food for the community, hands-on learning experiences, and dialogue around the environmental and human impacts of food production. The project pilot will kick-off by converting existing planter beds on the Regents Hall 4th Floor Patio into a sustainable, beautiful, and productive vegetable garden. 

Campus Gardens

The Hoya Harvest Garden is part of an existing network of dedicated gardeners across Georgetown University’s campus.

Learning by Growing

The Hoya Harvest Garden will also offer a bounty of educational opportunities, both formal and informal. While some sections of the garden can integrated  into courses to demonstrate specific biological and ecological processes, others can serve as living laboratories, generating data for disciplines from sociology to economics. Students will be able to take part in internships, capstone projects, and volunteer opportunities as well as workshops and community lectures, all while being encouraged to think critically about food and the environment. 

The central location of the Hoya Harvest Garden plots on Georgetown’s main campus demonstrates the University’s commitment to the environment and sustainability and its dedication to continue to work to solve the world’s most complex and pressing problems. The Earth Commons is proud to launch the Hoya Harvest and is excited to watch it grow. 

Student Gardeners

“Abby is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service studying Science, Technology, and International Affairs with minors in biology and French. When she isn’t busy watering her excessive number of houseplants, she can be found doing a crossword puzzle or debating with the Philodemic Society. She is incredibly excited to use her years of farming and gardening experience to grow butternut squash in the Hoya Harvest garden, which she will use to make butternut squash and coconut milk soup.”

“Charlotte is a junior in the College studying environmental biology, as well as education, inquiry, and justice (EDIJ). She is excited to spend a full growing season in DC and is looking forward to all the excitement, bugs, and color that it brings to the garden. Her favorite plant in the garden is the pickling cucumbers and she’s hoping to perfect a pickle recipe this summer.”

A Year in the Making

The launch of Hoya Harvest comes after a year and a half of collaborative planning with D.C. urban agriculture experts, on-campus partners, and community members, and strives to incorporate the wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm from the Georgetown community. The garden will be planted in the spring of 2023 and managed using regenerative agriculture techniques to support both a thriving ecological community and a hearty harvest. Produce from the garden will be distributed via the Hoya Hub, Georgetown’s on-campus food pantry, and other partners identified through the Center for Social Justice, at once honoring our Jesuit values of People for Others and Care for Our Common Home. 

HH Swag Design Contest

Like all Earth Common’s initiatives, the Hoya Harvest strives to be interdisciplinary and engaging in its approach to addressing environmental issues. That’s why, in addition to fostering dialogue around food production and the environment through hands-on learning opportunities in disciplines such as biology, the Hoya Harvest will also provide space for creativity. 

Have an idea to collaborate creativity? Reach out to us! We welcome proposals for art installations or performances in the garden, use of the garden as subject matter, and more. 

Suggested Reading List

Overview: World Resources Institute
Emissions: Nature Food
Deforestation: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Topsoil: AGU (new window)
Water: Royal Society Publishing (new window) or Food and Agriculture Organization (new window)
Food security and climate change: Food and Energy Security (new window)
General food insecurity: World Food Programme (new window)

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