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University of Victoria Students To Rebuild Gardens Destroyed by Administration, Aim to take Action on Food Security and Sustainability
Friday, 02 April 2010 05:25
Press Release

At noon today, hundreds of students at the University of Victoria will be converging outside the campus library to rebuild the student-built gardens that were bulldozed by university administration hours just after their creation last week, and to share the message that resistance is fertile. Students will bring their own shovels, tools, compost, fencing, seeds, and seedlings to the event, where there will be music, free food, speakers, and the digging and planting of gardens.
“We’re disillusioned with UVic administration declining student proposals and petitions for campus agriculture for well over ten years,” said student Teresa Carey. “When we built the student gardens by the library last Wednesday, we proved that students can self-organize, we can create meaningful and sustainable places in one afternoon, and we can do it outside of the bureaucracy that has continuously stifled student voices and initiatives for over ten years.”
“I believe that it is our duty as citizens to replant these gardens today, because food security is one of the most urgent issues concerning Vancouver Island. It is socially irresponsible for the university to control enormous tracts of arable land and use it only to grow inedible lawns when Vancouver Island grows only a fraction of its own food supply, making us almost wholly reliant on imports and fossil fuels used for food transportation,” said student Lindsay Harris.

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The university Sustainability Action Plan states that the university aims to “become carbon neutral by 2010”, and to “increase accessibility to healthy and diverse food options”, but many students question the hollow rhetoric of sustainability when placed in the context of administrative inaction. “The university needs to make a choice: take sustainability seriously or end the green-washing. They bulldozed the student gardens, and while they may say they’re looking  for dialogue, they locked all concerned students out of the administration building last Thursday, assaulting one student when she tried to enter the building,” said student Chelsea Barker. “Students attempted to grow their own affordable, sustainable, healthy food last Wednesday. We’ll try to again today. Any argument that lawns could ever be more important than student and environmental well-being is socially negligent.”
The event is not organized by a group, but by a loose network of several dozen autonomous students, acting with no leaders and outside of any bureaucracy.

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