International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development

Special Issue: ‘Innovations in Sustainability Management at Universities’


This research describes the key characteristics of campus food gardens and investigates their contribution to overall campus sustainability. An email-survey of fifty-two campus garden managers in North America provided quantitative and qualitative data for this analysis. It was found that gardens are often student initiated and managed, but also bring together diverse stakeholders from the campus and community. These sites increase sustainability awareness as well as overall institutional sustainability. University food gardens provide formal education that overcomes many institutional barriers to interdisciplinary programs. Informal education also occurs at these sites through experiential learning which leads to greater environmental awareness among garden participants. Campus gardens increase sustainability of institutions by providing local organic food, sustainability education, campus biodiversity, and community-building. Overall, this research indicates that campus food gardens take root for the long-term with strong student participation and institutional support.