SDSU Dining plans to ends contract with College Area Community Garden, frees land plots for student rental


Aretha Matsushima

College Area Community Garden founder and president Henry Bertram encourages students to get involved with the garden in light of the university’s decision to end their partnership with CACG.

by Aretha Matsushima, Staff Writer

After two years, San Diego State Dining will stop using the College Area Community Garden to source produce for students at the end of 2018.

Henry Bertram, founder and president of the College Area Community Garden said SDSU Dining will be leaving at garden at the end of 2018 look towards on-campus gardening options. However, he said the garden will continue to serve SDSU students, faculty, staff and community members with around 100 raised boxes for growing vegetables.

“Our garden serves a radius of a couple of miles, not just San Diego State University,” Bertram said.

Bertram said students or members of the general public can rent boxes at the garden on a yearly basis for a cost of 25 cents per sq. foot, making a 4 ft. by 8 ft. box cost $8 per month. Boxes can be leased on the College Area Community Garden website. During the day, gardeners are allowed to come into the garden freely to work on spaces.

“For that amount of money, you get really high quality soil, fertilizer and water that we furnish, and access to gardening tools,” Bertram said. 

The garden, located on one acre of private property near the SDSU Children’s Center, has promoted sustainability by featuring a rain-water catching system, composting and solar panels that provide all electricity. The College Area Community Garden is a private, non-profit corporation that is not owned or operated by SDSU.

With the garden’s close proximity to campus, Bertram said students and faculty are also free to utilize the space as a calm environment to hangout in between classes.

“People come here to eat and study,” Bertram said. “It’s real quiet and they are able to collect their thoughts.”

Gardeners representative Jen Petit said new gardeners receive encouragement, support and instruction when starting their gardens. The community garden is known to offer classes, sometimes free or at a low cost, taught by experts from San Diego Master Gardeners. It also has team leaders that guide new gardeners in being successful.

The garden offers volunteer opportunities for students involving tasks like maintenance, planting and building. American Language Institute, sororities, fraternities and Greenlove are among the student organizations from SDSU that have come to volunteer.

Nursing freshman Kelly McCormack, who leases a plot in the garden with her roommate, volunteers at the CACG with A.S. Greenlove. She said the community garden is a great little community that brings people together, making her feel at peace.

“The garden gives students a sense of life and gratification in getting to have something to grow along with them,” McCormack said.