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To transform the food culture at Duke and strengthen local food systems while providing duke community members with valuable skills and heightening environmental consciousness.

Project Mission

We will create a garden that is:

  • Educational: experiential learning through connection with the land and hands on teaching
  • Sustainable: utilization of organic practices and life-cycle analysis
  • Inovative: knowledge creation through new irrigation, composting, and gardening practices
  • Collaborative: Engaging Trinity and Pratt, undergraduates, graduates and staff


  • Food production: vegetable, fruit and berry harvests for volunteers and the Freeman Center
  • Layout: aesthetically captivating layout designed by landscape architect team to attract interest
  • Composting: separate worm and bin composting to demonstrate and test different technologies
  • Water collection: A 440 gallon concrete storage system for a sustainable water source
  • Irrigation: a low maintenance, water efficient drip irrigation system
  • Shed: A 96 square foot shed for tool storage and a water catchment surface

Project Outcomes - Incremental Gains and Marginal Benefits

Primary Objective: A Duke food culture that engages and appreciates the complete cycle of food production

  1. Education: Duke students gain gardening skills that they will use for the rest or their lives
  2. Education: Unmet academic interest in agriculture and horticulture is fulfilled
  3. Sustainable: Environmental impacts of food transport and conventional farming are diminished
  4. Sustainable: Underutilized resources like land and gardening skills will be employed
  5. Innovation: Group and individual projects on promising ideas drive knowledge creation
  6. Collaboration: Testing and teaching location for Duke groups implementing solutions abroad
  7. Collaboration: Duke Smart Home expanded to engage ecosystem and food sustainability
  8. Collaboration: Partnership with the Freeman Center to provide fresh food for Henry's Place
  9. Collaboration: Manuel work strengthens sense of community among diverse stakeholders

Project Deliverables by semester's end (05/01/09)

  • Water, composing, shed and layout construction is completed
  • A 3,500 square feet plot of land is planted, growing and maintained
  • All materials for the maintenance of the garden through the end of 2009 are procured
  • Sustainable arrangements for summer labor and future funding needs are arranged

Project Funding Needs

$3,000-$11,500 (see budget documents)

Key Stakeholders and Partners

Duke SmartHome, Duke Recycles, Students for Sustainable Living, Freeman Center, SEEDS, Engineers without Borders, Farm Hand, Divinity School, Duke Gardens, Duke Sustainability Office

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