Original hydroponic garden

The original hydroponic garden launched in 2016; its replacement uses significantly less water.  (Photo/Jorge Negrete/USC Design Studio)


USC’s Teaching Garden takes urban farming to new heights

The project supports the university’s commitment to growing food locally without harmful chemicals

April 18, 2016 USC Sustainability staff

USC Hospitality is developing the USC Teaching Garden, a self-sustaining garden to harvest fruit, herbs, vegetables and edible flowers for its dining venues.

The garden’s farming techniques support USC’s commitment to the environment and the health of the university’s dining guests by growing food locally without the use of harmful chemicals.

With the support of L.A. Urban Farms, USC is the first university in the nation to have a farming effort of this scale using vertical garden aeroponics technology. Aeroponics, the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil, can be used to harvest flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruits. The towers sustain plant growth while using 90 percent less water and 90 percent less land than a traditional garden.

“I am proud to work for an organization that focuses so much on culinary excellence and the guest experience,” said executive chef Eric Ernest, referring to the farm-to-table methods.

The output from the garden, which is behind the university-owned Radisson hotel on Figueroa Street, will be used to develop menus for restaurants and residential dining at USC.