The Trent Vegetable Gardens started as an innovative thought by Professor Tom Hutchinson — that conventionally unused urban and peri-urban spaces (like roof tops) could be transformed into productive spaces for research and agriculture — and that is just what has happened with Trent Vegetable Gardens. What started as a rooftop garden project in 1996 to monitor ozone levelsand conduct environmental research, has developed into two dynamic garden spaces on the Trent University Campus. Trent is now home to two organic vegetable gardens, the rooftop garden, located on the Environmental Sciences Building, and the field garden, located North East of the DNA building.
In 2006 the field garden was established and the purposes of the gardens shifted. Still with an emphasis on research and education the gardens teamed up with the Seasoned Spoon Café and other not-for-profit organizations to offer fresh food and experiential learning opportunities from field to table. Both gardens employ organic principles and highlight native plants, indigenous agricultural techniques, permaculture techniques and practice seed saving. While the rooftop resembles a kitchen garden, the field is more of a production space, similar to a small-scale farm. In 2010 the Trent Vegetable Gardens partnered with the Peterborough Community Garden Network and established a 20 plot community garden.
Presently the gardens are funded by a student levy and supported by the work of many volunteers.The organization is overseen by a committee, while the gardens are organized by two coordinators each year. Over the past 10 years the gardens have supervised numerous Trent Centre for Community Based Education projects and partnered with courses in Canadian Studies, Environmental Studies, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems and Indigenous Environmental Studies.