The University of Oregon will allocate $1 million toward an effort to expand and enhance the UO’s Urban Farm program within the College of Design. President Michael H. Schill dedicated the funding following the completion of a visioning process conducted during spring involving students, faculty members and staff.
The Urban Farm visioning report recommends three key areas for focus: identifying additional urban farming cultivatable land and outdoor classroom space, enhancing student experience and increasing access to urban farming activities, and integrating and expanding research experiences and opportunities.
“I am grateful for the energy and passion of the students, faculty and staff involved in the process to enhance the Urban Farm and its educational and research impact,” Schill said. “While there are many details to work out, we now have a road map that will allow the university to expand the benefits of this unique program.”
The funding will help the university enter the next phase of work, including determining details such as location of additional farming and classroom space, timing, and curriculum and research opportunities. The visioning process was launched, in part, to address concerns about the potential for disruption to Urban Farm activities during future UO construction projects.
The UO Urban Farm has been in operation since 1976. It is considered a model for alternative urban land use where members of the UO community grow food, take care of the land, work together and build community. A part of the Department of Landscape Architecture, the Urban Farm seeks to integrate biological, ecological, economic and social concerns related to urban farming.
The urban farming curriculum supports approximately 320 students annually. Additional information is available on the Urban Farm website.