Student Gardens

Our campus is a living classroom. PSU's collection of student-focused gardens offer opportunities to learn about plant care, habitat restoration, community resilience, food production, and much more. These spaces cultivate a sense of place, social networks, and apprecation of the natural systems that sustain us.

Get Involved

Do you want to learn, work, or play in our campus gardens? The Student Sustainability Center can connect you with our network of garden managers and share current opportunities to get involved. Contact the coordinator at gardens@pdx.edu or 502-725-5598, or contact individual garden managers using the contact information below.

Campus Garden Committee: This committee supports our student garden initiatives and is coordinated by the SSC. The Committee also functions as PSU's Bee Campus and Tree Campus committee. To learn more or apply to join the committee, please email psussc@pdx.edu.

Campus Gardens Map | Download a PDF map of PSU's campus gardens, including contact information and locations for each space.

Safety Tips

  • Garden during the daytime.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Garden with at least one other person.
  • Be careful of unexpected debris and objects while working in gardens. Identify each item before you touch it. If you are uncertain about an item, leave it alone.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes and personal protective equipment at all times.

Don’t hesitate to contact PSU's Campus Public Safety Office (CPSO) if you have any safety concerns: 
Phone: 503-725-4407 | Emergency: 503-725-4404

Foraging Tips 

These tips were adapted from Nature and CultureForaging in the City, and a literature review completed by the Institute for Sustainable Solutions. 

  • Pick where species are abundant and do not strip a site bare. Leave plenty of growth so the plant can continue growing and others can enjoy the abundance.
  • Do not pick on consecutive weeks unless plants are abundant.
  • Never pick more than 30% of the plant supply.
  • Do not pick rare plants.
  • Wash before eating harvested plants.
  • Learn about the plants in your region and never pick anything that you have not identified. 
  • Forage with a guide.
  • Find out whether your foraging site has been sprayed or treated.
  • Avoid damaging plants. Do not uproot plants and use a sharp cutting tool to harvest.
  • Grow your own. Many plants are easily planted at home.

 

PSU's Student-Focused Gardens

Community Orchard

SW 12th and Montgomery, just south of the Community Garden

Stroll through 30+ species of fruit trees, visit the beehives, or study at the cob bench in our Orchard. This space utilizes permaculture principles to mimic the processes of natural systems. Each year, the Orchard is one of many placemaking sites activated during the city-wide Village Building Convergence. This spring placemaking festival combines community building, art and ecological design. The Orchard is maintained through a partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Check out our tree inventory map (PDF).

Open hours: During scheduled work parties and by appointment.
Contact: Student Sustainability Center, gardens@pdx.edu or 503-725-5598.

 

Grazing Gardens

SW Broadway and Harrison, south side of Smith Memorial Student Union

With veggies, herbs, berries, and benches, the Grazing Gardens offers a space to sit and relax. The garden features student art, an herb spiral, an intention altar, and a native plant collection. Just west of the garden, you’ll find the “Hearth Hub” oven and dialogue dome. These community structures are made from alternative building technologies such as cob (a mixture of sand, straw, and clay). Designed and maintained by students, the oven features an image of the Chinook Salmon and is fired up to provide food for campus events.


Open hours: All hours.
Contact: Student Sustainability Center, psussc@pdx.edu or 503-725-5598.

 

NASCC Living Rooftop Garden and Deerwalk

SW Broadway and Jackson

A red brick pathway zigzags the rooftop of the Native American Student and Community Center (NASCC), traversing through seven beds of native plants. The fully-accessible path passes through cascading terraces of grasses, shrubs and flowers. Species include elderberry, oregon grape, kinnikinnick, salal, sedum, native roses, lupine and reeds. Just southwest of NASCC, native plants with medicinal and cultural uses  cover the I-405 overpass through a partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).


Open hours: Rooftop garden: from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays; Deerwalk: all hours.
Contact: Native American Student and Community Center,  abegay@pdx.edu or 503-725-9695.

 

Oak Savanna (Proposed Project)

SW 11th and Montgomery, just south of the Science Research Teaching Center

Since 2011, students from the Student Sustainability Center and other organizations have advocated for this area to be designated as a campus greenspace. The space is currently not managed. The envisioned Oak Savanna is dedicated to the relationship between the First Peoples and the native vegetation of oak savannas. One day, we hope this space will share the natural history of our region, offer a place for reflection and healing, create wildlife habitat, and demonstrate indigenous permaculture and ethnobotanical practices. Camas bulbs from the Willamette Valley’s Quamash Prairie were blessed by Native representatives and planted in the Savanna in 2012. A landscape architecture firm was hired by the Campus Planning Office to create a proposed vision for the space in 2017, which has been shared with University administrators for consideration. 

Open hours: All hours.
Contact: Student Sustainability Center, gardens@pdx.edu or  503-725-5598.

 

Smith Permaculture Garden

West side of Smith Memorial Student Union

Originally planted on SW Montgomery and 6th Ave in 2010, this garden was relocated to the west side of Smith due to the renovation of the School of Business Administration. The garden utilizes permaculture principles including sheet mulching and companion planting to create a thriving ecosystem. You’ll find a mix of native, medicinal, and edible species in this space. Groups that have worked in this garden include classes such as Urban Farm Education and the Student Community Engagement Center during PSU’s annual Earth Day of Service.

*Note: a tree fell on a portion of this garden. Renovations are underway in partnership with the PSU Food Pantry and the Hunger capstone.

Open hours: All hours.
ContactStudent Sustainability Center, psussc@pdx.edu or 503-725-5598.

 

SRTC Native Garden

SW 10th and Montgomery, east of Science Research Teaching Center

This block-long collection of native plants was restored from an ivy patch in the 1990s by students in the Environmental Studies department and Environmental Club. Over the years, this space has grown to showcase a variety of beneficial plants including Oregon Iris, Salal, Spirea, many types of ferns, Showy Milkweed, and Red-Osier Dogwood. Because these plants are adapted to our local climate, the garden rarely needs watering. Stop by to experience nature in the city.

 
Open hours: All hours.
ContactPSU Landscaping and Grounds.

 

Residence Hall Community Garden

SW 12th and Montgomery

*This garden is being re-envisioned and plots are not currently available for students. 

Contact: Community Garden Coordinator, psucg@pdx.edu or visit the PSU Community Garden website

 

Learning Gardens Laboratory

6801 SW 60th Ave (across from Brentwood Park between Duke and Flavel)

The Learning Gardens Lab (LGL) supports academic achievement, leadership development, and local sustainable food systems by providing multicultural, interdisciplinary, intergenerational, and experiential garden-based education for public school students and their families, university students, and community members. Bring a group to LGL for a garden-based education tour, a service-learning activity, or other unique educational experience.

Open hours: During regular scheduled work parties and by arrangement.
Contact: Leadership for Sustainability Education program, lglvolunteer@gmail.com or visit the Learning Gardens Lab website.