SANTA MONICA, Calif. — On campus at Santa Monica College is a bustling and productive garden where students volunteer to cultivate hundreds of fruits and vegetables. The Organic Learning Garden teaches students sustainable gardening practices for ensuring food security, as well as environmental sustainability. 

Daniela Roveda is a master gardener who advises the students on organic practices that benefit the environment.

“We can learn only organic practices and how to not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, but also using water in an efficient way, especially because we live in a climate where water is scarce and expensive,” Roveda said.

Ryan Bode, president of Club Grow at SMC, said they teach students about the role of gardens and mitigating climate change.

“Gardens are a great place for capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” Bode said.

According to research from MIT, “plants are a natural ‘carbon sink.’ When plants absorb carbon dioxide, a portion of that carbon remains in the plants themselves, while another portion is transported to the soil plants grow in.”

Many of the fruits and vegetables grown in the learning garden are sold at the on-campus bodega, where students can get fresh food, free of charge.