The Market Garden was started in the early 1980s by students wishing to gain practical experience in organic vegetable production and marketing. Currently, the Market Garden occupies seven acres of land used for year-round crop production, various independent student projects, and field activities for selected courses.
Students can participate in the Market Garden as volunteers, as interns for credit, as part of the PLS 49 Organic Crop Production Practices class, or as student employees. Participants are involved in all phases of organic vegetable production and marketing; these include growing transplants in the greenhouse, direct seeding and transplanting of crops, field preparation, irrigation, cultivation, pest management, harvesting, packing and marketing. Some students develop independent projects as part of their Market Garden experience. Examples include producing greenhouse tomatoes, monitoring pests or nutrients, and conducting variety trials.
During the school year, Market Garden activities take place from 8 to 12, Monday through Friday. Monday and Thursday are harvest days for our CSA and sales to Dining Services. During the Spring and Fall quarters there is an on-campus farmers market on Wednesdays. Field activities take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
In the summer, both students and non-students can participate in the Market Garden. Summer opportunities include apprenticeships, which are the most intensive way of participating in the Market Garden in the summer. Apprentices work about 20 hours/week, for approximately 10 weeks, beginning around June 20 - 25 and usually ending around the beginning of September. Individuals can also participate for fewer weeks and/or fewer hours per week. These include participating during one or both of the 6-week UC Davis Summer Sessions or other periods that can be arranged in coordination with Market Garden staff. More information about summer participation in the Market Garden, including application information, is available here.
Produce from the Market Garden is available to the UC Davis campus community via fresh, seasonal dishes prepared by UC Davis Dining Services and the Coffee House. Market Garden produce is also available through direct sales. We both sell at the UC Davis Farmers Market and have a community-supported agriculture project, Student Harvest.
Another Market Garden program area is grant-funded, special projects. In past years we have participated in variety trials with the Organic Seed Alliance, Seeds of Change, and Johnny's Selected Seeds. Recently, we had a 3-year grant funded by the USDA to develop plant breeding educational programs related to peppers. There is a pepper Powerpoint presentation that can be viewed here. We are also maintaining a pepper variety garden within the Market Garden that is used for educational tours.
Student Employees in the Market Garden
Each year there are several students employed in the Market Garden as “Lead Student Farmers.” Lead Student Farmers help manage, produce and sell crops and provide instruction, training, guidance and leadership to less experienced students participating in the Market Garden. To qualify for one of these positions, a student should understand and have prior experience with organic crop production and how things are run at the Market Garden and have a desire to help lead and educate fellow students that come out to the farm.
Application and Hiring Process: Employee turnover is not predictable and can happen at any time of year. Therefore, interested and qualified students can submit an application to Raoul Adamchak in person or by e-mail at any time. A job description and application form are available here. When positions open up, the applications on file will be reviewed to help identify the most qualified applicants.
For more information about the Market Garden, contact the Market Garden Coordinator, Raoul Adamchak at (530) 304-1898 or rwadamchak AT ucdavis DOT edu.
Market Garden Educational Materials
We have developed a number of materials with information on some of our practices:
- Welcome to the Market Garden - Orientation Booklet
- Farmers Market Protocols
- CSA Management Guide
- Soil Fertility Management Strategy
- CSA Harvest Guide
- Transplant Production in the Greenhouse
- Organic Soil Fertility and Management
- Organic Pest Management
- A Pepper Primer: Introducing the Capsicums.
- Seed Saving for Peppers
- Growing Food for the Campus Community