Faculty and students maintain a one-acre organic garden on campus as an essential element of the school’s sustainability curriculum. Students in our garden program grow seedlings in the school’s greenhouse and maintain a seed bank of select crops from our raised beds for replanting. Under the guidance of the program’s directors, Doyle Pitchford and Stewart Slafter, students transplant, weed and harvest dozens of vegetable and herb varieties. We maintain our garden’s fertility with composted manure from our school farm and plant each garden bed two or three times a year. The produce goes to our school cafeteria, local restaurants, communal on-campus meals and our on-campus farm and garden stand.
The school also has several satellite vegetable gardens sprinkled around the campus and small orchards of apple, plum, persimmon and citrus trees as well as a grove of olive trees. We produce jelly, marmalades, jams and salsas with the fruit and organize an annual olive harvest from which we produce extra virgin olive oil. Student artists design labels for our bottled and preserved foods, and we market them at the school’s annual holiday boutique.
As a natural complement to our garden the school has an animal farm on which we raise goats, chickens, ducks and rabbits. We make cheese, cream, butter, ice cream and soap with our goat milk. We incorporate chicken and duck eggs into communal meals and sell them on campus. Students also learn how to slaughter and butcher livestock at our outdoor farm kitchen abattoir. We do not sell any meat, but students and farm teachers incorporate it into communal meals and offer it to community members at our farm stand.
Although it is necessary to buy some commercial feed for our farm animals, the campus itself provides a significant amount of food to the farm. Pasture grasses, ivy, and leaves from the school's olive, oak and palm trees sustain our animals. We also regularly deliver cafeteria scraps and overly mature produce from the garden to the animal pens. Our animals get their first meal before dawn every day of the year and receive attention, care and additional food throughout the school day.