LOS ANGELES, California, USA (April 8, 2016) – There’s an ongoing drought and loss of farmable land. Moreover, the rapid depletion of natural resources is a relevant concern today. To fight these issues, USC Hospitality has taken action to assert its responsibility for the earth. It is developing the USC Teaching Garden, a self-sustaining garden to harvest a variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and edible flowers for its dining venues. The garden’s farming techniques support USC Hospitality’s commitment to the environment. Moreover, to the health of our dining guests by growing our own food locally. Especially without the use of any harmful chemicals.

Opening the USC Teaching Garden

With the support of LA Urban Farms, the USC Hospitality Group successfully opened the USC Teaching Garden. It’s the first university in the nation to have a farming effort of this scale using vertical Tower Garden® aeroponics technology. Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil. Students can grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers in this garden without the use of any soil or harmful chemicals. The seeds they use in the garden are 100% organic, and the minerals and nutrients are all ionic.

The plastic is FDA food-grade approved plastic & UV stabilized for outdoor protection. Leafy greens & herbs can be harvested in just 21 – 28 days. The towers are remarkable in the way they sustain plant growth while using 90% less water and 90% less land than traditional gardens. The USC farm is growing 2,640 nutrient-dense plants in just a 60’ x 20’ square foot space. In addition, USC culinarians receive access to the garden to grasp the significance of our environmental impact on the earth in farming our own produce. Through the process, USC Chefs have strengthened the pride they have in serving guests using farm-to-table methods.

What was once an empty, colorless patio has now transformed into a tranquil, vibrant haven of growth, health, and life.

It is a cornerstone to empowering USC chefs, students, and guests. Specifically to consider the food they eat and how they grow it. Executive Chef Eric Ernest, CEC, CCA, adds, “I am extremely proud to work for an organization that focuses so much on culinary excellence and the guest experience.” As such, the urban garden supports many of the experience principles of the department’s food philosophy and will be fully integrated into menu development for the restaurants of USC and Residential Dining.

Sources: LA Urban Farms and the USC Hospitality Group

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