Riverside City College’s Urban Farm, a model for sustainable urban farming on the RCC campus, received honorable mention honors in the Exemplary Program Award by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. The award recognizes outstanding California community college programs excelling in environmental stewardship.
Rio Hondo College in Whittier received the Exemplary Program Award for its alternative fuels program, which includes hybrid, fuel cell, compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas, liquid petroleum gas and electric vehicle technologies.
RCC was one of three colleges to receive honorable mention awards. Santa Barbara City College was recognized for its permaculture garden, which has changed the College’s public face by transforming manicured lawns into large portions of grounds covered with sustainable plants that help solve food insecurity among students. Food produced in the garden goes directly to the College food pantry. And, Sierra College received an honorable mention for its environmental studies and sustainability program. The program provides students with the opportunity to meet the requirements to transfer to four-year colleges in the environmental fields including environmental studies and environmental science.
The Exemplary Program Award was established by the Board of Governors in 1991 to recognize outstanding community college programs. As many as two California Community College programs may receive cash awards of $4,000 and up to four programs receive honorable mention plaques. This year’s theme for the Exemplary Program Award was Environmental Responsibility.
The Urban Garden at RCC has been a model for sustainable urban farming on the campus for a number of years. The Farm has attracted college faculty, staff and students, community members, K-12 feeder schools and local universities, particularly the University of California, Riverside, to help develop the Farm and showcase the potential of its approach to community agriculture.
The Farm’s production has increased from 101 pounds of produce per month, to 238 pounds. The produce is distributed to those who are in need. The mission of the Farm is to “make healthy, sustainable food available to the community through education and practice; strive to develop small footprint farm plots by utilizing local materials and considering the local climate and soil conditions; enable the education of RCC students by providing outdoor laboratory space; and support students and community members interested in sustainable gardening methods to contribute to an effective and accessible local food system.”