About the G.A.R.D.E.N.
The G.A.R.D.E.N. is a half-acre site managed by the Institute for Sustainability with support from California Climate Action Corps Fellows as well as hundreds of students and community volunteers who help care for the space each year. Seasonal vegetables and herbs are grown in over 500 square feet of bed space alongside dozens of fruit trees and a wide variety of California native plants, all without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. The mission and spirit of the G.A.R.D.E.N. is best understood through the full name itself:
- Growing: This is a living space and community which actively changes and evolves over the years and seasons.
- Accessible: Individuals of all abilities and levels of experience are encouraged to contribute to and learn from our public university garden.
- Resources: The garden provides healthy, organic, locally grown food directly to CSUN students and staff via the CSUN Food Pantry, while also serving as a resource for education and skill-building.
- Diversity: Of people, plants, and animals. The garden is a place for the proliferation of native plants and the species they support as well as a site for celebrating cultural heritage and community connection.
- Education: The garden is a space for students, staff, faculty, and neighbors to learn together through hands-on collaboration, formal workshops, and volunteering.
- Nourishment: The garden nourishes the body and mind through fresh food, interconnectedness with the wider ecosystem, and a community of caring people concerned for the well-being of our planet and one another.
See below for a map of what you will find at the G.A.R.D.E.N.
Getting to the G.A.R.D.E.N.
The G.A.R.D.E.N. is located on the north side of campus between the tennis courts and student housing, directly behind Northridge Academy High School (see Google Maps pin). On the CSUN Campus Map, the site is labeled “Food Garden and Outdoor Classroom”, located in quadrant G7.
Please note that the G.A.R.D.E.N. is accessible via on-campus footpath only. There is no public automobile access to the site and the driveway behind the space is managed by Northridge Academy High School, often gated off to both vehicles and pedestrians.
Volunteering at the G.A.R.D.E.N.
Why should I volunteer?
Looking to make a difference in your community alongside other passionate people? Excited to learn more about working with plants and sharing your knowledge with others? Volunteering at the G.A.R.D.E.N. is a flexible opportunity to explore your passions and interests as we fight food insecurity and play an active role restoring our local ecosystem.
What do volunteers do?
The tasks we ask volunteers to help with vary, but typically include activities such as weeding, laying mulch, turning/sifting compost, pruning, sowing/collecting seeds, and harvesting fruits/vegetables for delivery to the CSUN Food Pantry. There is no gardening experience or time commitment required to volunteer.
How do I sign up?
To get involved, follow the steps below:
- Sign up for a slot by clicking the button below (come for however long you would like; “shifts” represent our staff availability and not the times you are expected to arrive/leave)
2. Print, sign, and bring a liability waiver with you to your first day at the G.A.R.D.E.N.
3. Once you arrive at the G.A.R.D.E.N., we will give you a brief orientation of the space and ask you to fill out a pre-volunteer survey; you can also complete the survey in advance if you prefer
Volunteering to fulfill a service-learning requirement at CSUN?
If you are volunteering for service-learning credit, you can register your work at the G.A.R.D.E.N. with your instructor via our page on the S4 database.
Volunteer Health & Safety Information
Restrooms and a water fountain/refill station are available on site. Gloves and tools (trowels, pruners, weeding picks, etc.) are provided.
What to bring with you:
- Refillable water bottle
- Closed toe shoes
- Clothing that will help you stay comfortable working outdoors in an area with limited shade (e.g., sleeves you can roll up/down to protect your skin from sun and/or branches)
Have more questions?
Watch our volunteer orientation video below or reach out to sustainability[at]csun.edu with any questions.
Other Ways to get Involved
Partner with us
Would you like to facilitate a workshop or conduct research in the garden? Send an email with your interest to sustainability[at]csun.edu and a member of our team will get back to you soon.
Bring us your compost
Provide a donation
In addition to hands-on support, monetary and in-kind donations of tools, materials, seeds, and plants help keep our garden and its programming flourishing. The Institute for Sustainability can accept monetary gifts via the page linked below.
Please contact sustainability[at]csun.edu with any questions. We appreciate your support!
Keep in Touch
You can keep in touch with the CSUN G.A.R.D.E.N. by:
- Following the Institute for Sustainability on Instagram @sustaincsun
- Following the G.A.R.D.E.N. on Instagram @csunsustainablegarden
- Signing up for the Institute for Sustainability’s monthly e-newsletter
- Sharing your photos and writing about your experiences on the G.A.R.D.E.N.’s Google Maps pin
- Checking out what kinds of life are thriving in the space and contributing your own observations of insects, birds, and other creatures to iNaturalist
What Other Resources Are Available?
- Gardening Webinar Series (2020)
- Gardening Resource Library
- Seed Library: Looking for seeds to plant yourself? You can view our current seed inventory here and reach out to sustainability[at]csun.edu to request seeds for pickup.
- If you want to learn more about the history of the G.A.R.D.E.N., please visit this Case Study published on the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) website. CSUN students, staff, and faculty can register for a free account with their CSUN email and view the case study.