UC Sustainability

UC Sustainability

UC Garden

Soiled Hands Learning Garden

3310 Ruther Avenue, Clifton


The Soiled Hands Learning Garden is a collaboration between the UC Office of Sustainability and Early Learning Center.  Its mission is to engage students of all ages in experiential environmental education, foster interest in gardening and sustainable land use, and build community, all while inspiring deeper connections with nature.

The UC Early Learning Center Children's Garden was founded in 2005 as a collaboration between the Center and the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati. The UC Early Learning Center provides daycare for UC faculty and staff as well as community members, for children 3 months to 5 years. The garden was created to provide hands-on nature education for the children.

In 2010, UC students, faculty, and the Office of Sustainability developed a new collaboration with the UC Early Learning Center to expand and improve the Children's Garden so that it could become a more active environmental education opportunity for both the daycare children and UC students.

In October 2010, a charrette was held and UC students, faculty, and staff worked with UCELC children, parents, and staff to learn about urban agriculture and organic gardening and then create a vision for what the garden could become. Several work days in Autumn and Winter terms drew dozens of volunteers who helped build raised beds out of reclaimed ash wood, create a path and planting mounds, clear the site, and plant a small orchard.

The 5000 sq. ft. space is now a place on the Uptown Campus that allows UC students to have hands-on experience with urban agriculture. Several student groups and class projects have become a part of this exciting project. For more information or to volunteer, please contact the green@uc.edu.

Present Day

Since the Fall of 2016, the UC Garden has undergone a revitalization with the Offfice of Sustainability working to maximize the potential of the space.  The Office has adopted a more holistic, permaculture based approach to the deisgn, maintenance, and utility of the space by working with, rather than against nature through using companion planting, planting a variety of bioregionally appropriate edible perennials, working to create pollinator pockets, and harvesting water from the tool shed.  The Office of Sustainability is increasingly being more programatic with the space through organizing educational workshops and community building work days.

Bearcat Food Pantry

Beginning in the Spring of 2018, fresh food from the Soiled Hands Learning Garden is donated directly to the Bearcat Food Pantry. Recognizing it's role in the community, UC Sustainability strives to ensure access to food for every person. We hope to do so through this partnership with the Bearcat Food Pantry. To learn more about the pantry and how to donate here.

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Rainwater Harvesting
Garden 2017

Plant for Pollinators

In 2019, the UC Soiled Hands Learning Garden and a section of UC's Victory Parkway Campus registered with the Cincinnati Zoo as a partner for Plant for Pollinators. We are committed to providing vital habitat for pollinators by adding pollinator-friendly plants to our garden. More information on Plant for Pollinators here.

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