News • July 28, 2022

Lancer Farms and Gardens bring science to life

Lancer Farms and Gardens bring science to life

Riverside, Calif. (July 28, 2022) – California Baptist University’s campus is home to a hidden gem. Tucked away behind the Colony apartments that house junior and senior students is a garden blooming with life.

The Lancer Farms and Gardens are planted next to the Hawthorne House, built in the late 1800s, and found in the Colony area. 

The Botany and Environmental Science clubs created Lancer Farms and Gardens in the spring of 2019 after seeing a need to establish an area for students of all majors and interests to go relax and be out in nature, said Dr. Jacob Lanphere, associate professor of environmental science and advisor to the Botany Club. Honoring the house and respecting its historic charm, the clubs partnered with Facilities and Planning Services to construct raised garden beds around the outside of the house.

The garden includes lavender and sunflowers, along with tomatoes, different types of lettuces and a citrus grove. The space is now maintained by Facilities staff and the environmental science faculty as well as CBU students. 

The various plants and foods in Lancer Farms and Gardens are grown organically, without chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. A permaculture system allows the garden to utilize sustainable farming and gardening methods, along with creating a natural ecosystem, Lanphere said.

“We added tons of biodiversity, so if you go out to the farm and look around, you’ll see so many different types of flowers and plants, and what we are trying to do is mimic God’s creation,” Lanphere said.

Jaz Livingstone, an environmental science junior, said the garden became his favorite place on campus after attending a volunteer event held by the Botany Club.

“My favorite thing about the garden is all the organic vegetables, many of which I have never seen or heard of,” Livingstone said. “It’s fun to go there using my plant identifier app and learn more about new plants that I might not have known about otherwise.”

Throughout the course of the school year, Lanphere takes every opportunity to teach his students out in nature. Learning in the garden takes the material they are learning in their textbooks and brings it to life.

“Whether it’s a soil and water class or having my students identify certain plants and flowers, I always find an excuse to get my students out there,” Lanphere said.

Livingstone said he enjoys when class took place in the garden.

“Dr. Lanphere took us to the garden for a scavenger hunt, which was a lot of fun,” Livingstone said. “I am taking an urban agriculture course in the fall, and I can’t wait to be out at Lancer Farms and Gardens.”

All are welcome to visit the garden throughout the year, especially when life gets busy and stressful. Students, faculty and staff can even pick the produce. Upon the entrance of the garden, the sweet scent of French and Spanish lavender fills the air.

“God provided these things for us because he knew we had to live in a stressful world, and these little systems are made to benefit us,” Lanphere said.