CSUN’s Living Legacy: Revitalizing the Orange Grove
For almost a century the five acre Orange Grove has provided bountiful fruit for CSUN and the greater community—a legacy of the Valley’s agricultural past as well as a beacon for the future of urban farming and community forestry. Since 2009, the Institute for Sustainability has partnered with a local non-profit, Food Forward to coordinate harvests and provide food for insecure students, staff, and our surrounding communities including the CSUN Food Pantry, Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND), SOVA Jewish Family Services of LA, Family Rescue Center, Seeds of Hope, and many others. In the last ten years, over 160,000 pounds (80 tons) of oranges have been harvested by almost 3,000 volunteers. These events prevent fresh produce from going to waste, while also providing fresh and nutritious food for those in need.
Why it's Important
More than 400 trees remain as a vibrant and essential part of our CSUN landscape. The Orange Grove is used for research (studying bee populations and pond turtles), stellar and solar observatories are located in the grove, the area provides a scenic and tranquil place to visit, relax, and study and the Orange Grove provides a remembrance of the agricultural past of Southern California. Additionally, the Orange Grove is a significant component of CSUN’s Urban Forest Management Plan and the university’s Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA designation since 2015.
However, many of the older trees have reached their natural lifespan and are in need of replacement to continue to provide to the community. As we embark on this replacement process, this is an opportunity to create new educational and harvesting opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and neighbors. New projects will include creating outdoor classrooms, living history museums, and faculty/student research opportunities on soil science, carbon farming, pollinators, and regenerative urban agriculture.
Replacing the aging trees will require new seedlings, rich organic soil, and new irrigation to accommodate our next phase in the grove.
Make a gift today to allow future generations to benefit from the vitality of the CSUN orange grove.