Brown's Herbal Garden
By Pat Brown's Cafe
The Browns Herbal Garden is located in the College of Natural Resources by Pat Browns Cafe. The space, which was created in 2017 by CRS student Hannah Haugness in partnership with the Guerrilla Gardens and with support from The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), is currently managed by Cal Dining’s Housing and Dining Sustainability Advocates (HADSA) Garden Coordinator. The space is comprised of a series of raised planter boxes as well as an in-ground plot and features a varietal mix of perennial and annual herbs.
While the Browns Garden grows community in many ways, it’s primary nature has been as an educational demonstration space. At many different levels Browns teaches the UC Berkeley community members about the importance of herbs, offering knowledge around how to cultivate and use them, as well as more generally about the significance of creating localized food systems. The educational programming has ranged from plant-identification signage–that displays information about the growing conditions, and medicinal/ culinary uses of the plant–to work days–which have invited community members to sheet mulch, plant, harvest, and compost offering opportunities to build gardening skills and learn more about herbs–and cooking demos–which have workshopped using the herbs into food, teas, and medicine.
The Browns Herbal Garden has also been able to enhance its educational outreach and broader support of the community through its many partnerships. On the student side, the Browns garden has served as a multidisciplinary educational space as they have worked in tandem with Herbicide Free Campus and the Sustainable Landscape Design Decal to share the broader socio ecological significance of urban farming. Additionally, they have worked with the campus grounds department, coordinating and supporting them on larger maintenance projects like irrigation installation and ground-prep by rallying students to support the largely under-appreciated, but hugely important, work of the campus grounds department. By nature of the project being linked to Cal Dining, they have been able to collaboratively partner with the staff at Pat Browns Cafe to grow more of what the chefs would like to use, swap recipes, and further engage them with the Garden’s sustainability goals. Finally, they have worked closely with the Basic Needs Center, and specifically with the UC Berkeley Food Pantry, to help provide students with fresh herbs for free.
Connect with them over Instagram here.