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Residents Create Sustainable Garden

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When an eight-stories tall oak tree behind I-House fell last year following a rain storm, the resulting clearing behind the Dining Hall provided ample space for a new resident-driven initiative to create a sustainable garden.

Making the Garden

Danika Desai, a 4th year resident studying environmental science was key to launching the project, which has attracted the participation of 19 students in the six months since it was established. The garden consists of two raised beds and includes organic lettuces, chard, peas, mustard greens, garlic, and strawberries intended for use in the I-House Dining Hall.


Danika Desai"My grandmother and grandfather met here at I-House over 50 years ago, and I am continually inspired by my grandmother and her garden - one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. My fellow-residents and I wanted to start a garden at I-House for lots of reasons - connecting people visually and viscerally to food and the values of sustainable agriculture when they are in the Dining Hall. When I plant things, touch the soil, watch the first flower emerge on my strawberry plant, I always think of my grandmother. Together the gardening residents at I-House are creating new connections among ourselves and a new connection for residents at I-House to the earth."

I-House is undertaking several projects in conjunction with UC Berkeley's initiative to create zero waste by 2020. A composting program is in place in the Dining Hall and Café, and Cal's sustainability Go! Team is planning to audit I-House trash in 2012 to identify ways to decrease waste by reducing, re-using, and recycling.