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November 18, 2011 > It's always green at Ohlone

It's always green at Ohlone

Although many may believe that it is always a bit greener on the other side of the hill, Ohlone College emphatically rejects that thought. Ohlone College's Newark Campus is certified as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum, the highest rating possible for energy efficiency and sustainability by the U.S. Green Building Council. Measuring design, environmental quality and efficiency, Ohlone has claimed the pinnacle of this internationally-recognized certification system, but aspires to even greater accomplishments.

Partnering with Waste Management of Alameda County, the Environmental Sciences program on campus began on Tuesday, November 15 (America Recycles Day), to convert 2,200 square feet of campus land to an urban farming research laboratory using recycled landscaping products. Students and faculty will tend this regional test bed facility using WM EarthCare(tm) recycled landscaping products previously destined for landfill or landfill cover.

Thirty-six raised bed soil containers of recycled redwood lumber filled with a variety of growth media will allow practical research into their performance and suitability for urban farming. Preparation of the site included spreading a base layer of compost, covered by recycled burlap bags and another top coat of compost. Planter boxes were constructed, lined and filled with growth media.

Using locally sourced and produced 100% recycled compost and mulch, students will test soil blends for drainage, texture, PH, and nutrients. The test plots will expand upon the existing Bay-Friendly Landscaping, a prominent feature of the Ohlone College Newark Center. The campus already has a small urban farm; this learning laboratory will increase its growing space capacity by three-fold and produce additional crops for a local food pantry and students.

All materials for the Outdoor Learning and Research Lab were donated by Waste Management. Those interested in observing this experiment are invited to visit the Ohlone College Newark Campus at 39399 Cherry Street in Newark.

For more information about the research lab and materials used, visit:

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