bc-100326-u-vic-garden

A lawn at the University of Victoria still shows the sign of an unsanctioned garden that authroties removed early Thursday. ((CBC))

Some students at the University of Victoria are upset with school officials for destroying a food garden they planted on school property.

Members of the group, which calls itself Foods Not Lawns, dug up part of the lawn in front of the McPherson Library and planted vegetables Wednesday.

Just after midnight Wednesday, university groundskeepers — accompanied by campus security and Saanich police — used three small bulldozers to tear the newly planted garden out.

A few students guarding the garden were unable to prevent the removal. They said they had been asking for years for permission to plant, but were ignored.

"People realized that we can do this … and we can create this place the way we want it to be," said student Matt Loewen.

Another student involved in the garden said the group wants a sustainable agriculture program at the school, as well as a farm.

"A place where we can really have access to food for students of all economic backgrounds," said Matt Christie. "And also to be able to support the community with forms of food."

Students to try again

There already is one garden on campus and planning for another is underway with many student groups involved, according to university spokesman Bruce Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick said the school has been trying to respond to anonymous demands from Foods Not Lawns and still doesn't know who was responsible for digging up the lawn.

"The individuals who we occasionally hear from are not identifying themselves by name, so we're not sure who they are," he said.  "And we've offered meetings in response to a request for a meeting.  Haven't heard back."

The students promised they would be back March 31 to install another garden. Kilpatrick said campus security would be there to deal with the situation.