CSU, Chico News

Farm to School: Organic Vegetable Garden Supports Community – Revised

Date: 09-11-2009

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Trevor Prater, Public Relations Intern
The Institute for Sustainable Development

The Organic Vegetable Project at California State University, Chico has increased production to accommodate students at CSU, Chico as well as local schools in partnership with the program. The Organic Vegetable Project (OVP), initiated in 2007, has expanded their garden area from a quarter-acre pilot project to a full acre in the last two years.

With their recent expansion in production the OVP hopes to attract more funding, volunteers and interest in the program to grow more organic produce on the land made available to them.

The OVP is committed to growing healthy and nutritious organic produce using small-scale agricultural techniques. “Our primary market is Chico State students, and we hope to grow into serving local schools,” said Katie Fugnetti, field manager for the Organic Vegetable Project. “With the farm-to-schools approach we can teach the benefits of small-scale organic farming to students and provide nutritious and wholesome foods to them.”

Through an award of a $10,500 grant from the Associated Students Sustainability Fund, the OVP has begun the process to hire a market manager to oversee the sales and distribution of organic vegetables to Associated Students (AS) Dining Services including Whitney Dining, Marketplace Café, AS Catering and the community. Organic Vegetable Project was started with grants from the Foor Foundation, the Agricultural Research Initiative, and the Institute for Sustainable Development.

The Organic Vegetable Project currently sells their produce to Associated Students Dining Services and to the public at two weekly farmers markets located at the University Farm off Hegan Lane (Fridays 9 a.m.-3 p.m.), and in front of the Student Services building on campus (Wednesdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m.).

Paid for by the CSU, Chico student body, the Associated Students Sustainability Fund awards up to $80,000 annually to students dedicated to initiating sustainable practices at CSU, Chico and within the Chico community.