Publication Date

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Rachel E. O'Malley


agroecology, experiential education, non-land-grant university, online survey, stakeholder perceptions, university garden

Subject Areas

Education; Agriculture education; Environmental studies


University farms and gardens are increasingly seen as effective tools for learning a variety of academic subjects and as resources that allow users to connect experientially to nature. Most existing university farms, however, are found at resource-rich land-grant universities. This research evaluated stakeholder interest and willingness-to-pay in money, time, and labor for a proposed educational farm at a public, urban, non-land-grant university through an online survey of over 400 members of the California State University East Bay, Concord Campus community. Overall, support for an educational farm at this site was high amongst all stakeholder groups. Students and stakeholders who hold multiple positions on campus reported greater interest in interacting with a campus teaching farm than did faculty and staff, while administrators expressed the least likelihood to participate in the proposed farm. Younger respondents and females anticipated greater interaction levels than did older or male groups. Income affected willingness-to-pay paradoxically: middle-income respondents anticipated contributing the greatest financial support, while those in the highest and lowest income categories projected contributing the smallest levels of financial support. Across all stakeholders, high interest in garden-based education reflected the recent growth of urban gardening and experiential learning in city centers around the world. More avenues may be needed for administrators, decision-makers, and funders to interact with garden classrooms to render university teaching gardens more viable, widely-utilized, and financially tenable.