Projects & Initiatives
ESTABLISHED PROJECTS: These projects are maintained and continuing to be improved.
Our first major expansion outside of pure gardening, the composting bins makes our carbon economy circular. Rather than have food waste produced by RCG community members end up in a dump, we compost it on site for use as a fertilizer on gardening beds. With is project, UCSD campus students have an easily accessible way to dispose of their food waste. Visit the Compost page to learn more!
One of our first student projects, this small, 500-gallon aquaponic system was finished in 2015 by Alumni Lucas, who wanted to prove the viability of an aquaponics system on campus. Due to the nature of where RCG is, surrounded by large Eucalyptus trees and close to the ocean, the previous team decided to build this as a test to ensure fish vitality. Visit the Aquaponics page to learn more!
Edible mushrooms are an excellent source of healthy and sustainable protein and can be grown from a variety of agricultural waste products. RCG grows high-quality oyster mushrooms from waste coffee grounds collected from the campus and donates a portion to the Triton Food Pantry. Visit the Mushrooms page to learn more!
NEW PROJECTS: These projects are recently established or up-&-coming.
Recently in 2021, RCG has been granted the rights by Housing Dining & Hospitality (HDH) to maintain the hydroponics towers located in Revelle, by the HDH building. These towers grow food with nutrient rich water without the need for soil. Visit the Hydroponics page to learn more!
These projects are no long being hosted at Roger's Community Garden either due to: relocation, lack of student interest, or disallowment in the garden space.
*This project has been discontinued as it is no longer allowed within the garden space.
In a response to needing to utilize as little of space, resources, and water as possible, the student organization Engineers Without Borders was hosting an Aeroponics project at RCG.
Aeroponics is a growing system where the roots hang in the air rather instead of receiving nutrients from the soil. Researched by NASA, aeroponics features a nutrient rich solution kept immense under pressure and passed through special chemical emitters. These emitters spray micro-doses of the nutrient solution onto the roots of plants in very small particles. These small particles of nutrient rich solution easily pass through the plant roots maximizing uptake efficiency. As a result the plant does not need the same amount of root space, has zero water/nutrient waste/runoff, and requires much smaller reservoir sizes than hydroponics.
Red leaf spinach and other microgreens growing vertically in aeroponics reservoirs. It occupied less space than its hydroponic counterparts.
*This project is no longer allowed within the garden space and has been relocated to UC Riverside.
Providing a technical solution to the problems of overflowing landfills, greenhouse gas emissions, and pitfalls of renewable energy sources, anaerobic digestion allows for the processing of food waste into biogas and organic fertilizer. Biogas can be burned for electricity, producing less harmful CO2 emissions than if the food was allowed to break down in a landfill and produce methane gas.
In collaboration with Engineers for a Sustainable World, RCG takes food waste from Price Center to have it be broken down by bacteria that thrive in oxygen-less environments and produce methane gas, which can be used to generate renewable electricity. The sludge waste is processed via EBW's Bioenergy Project, whose water treatment system takes the sludge and passes it through a series of filters, and aerators. This process converts the ammonia found within the sludge into plant-available nitrates. Similarly, the system also recaptures phosphates, potassium and other micronutrients, allowing them to be recycled and turned into liquid hydroponic fertilizer.
Hydroponic Test Bed
Attached to the digester is our plug-and-play system of custom hydroponic research, design and implementation. Any interested students or groups are allowed to connect to a series of hookups to play with their own urban and vertical hydroponic systems.
In addition to design, there is much data to collect in order to better understand how to turn food waste back into food in a 21st century way. This model demonstrates how we can produce food with as little carbon waste as possible.
Price Center Food Waste to Food and Fuel Composting Program
Roger's Community Garden, in partnership with University Centers, has a process of taking pre-consumer food waste from Price Center restaurants, transporting it to Roger’s Community Garden, and subsequently processing the waste into soil and energy at the garden.
Our aforementioned on-site digester produces bio-gas energy and nutrient-rich sludge, the later of which is treated into hydroponic-grade fertilizer. As of August 2018, student interns and volunteers currently redirect and compost 1,500 pounds of food waste a week that would otherwise go to a landfill.