Growing Sustainably

The Edible Garden

Nurturing Nature

Gardening: A Favorite Hobby

At Bernheim, we are proud to have one of the most unique gardens in the world. The Edible Garden is a four-acre site just across from our Visitor Center that serves as a living classroom, produces 1000s of pounds of food annually, and engages visitors of all ages in one of the oldest practices of human kind.

The Edible Garden is a living classroom designed to help people understand the research mission of Bernheim. The Edible Garden helps people connect gardening and ecology.

What makes the Edible Garden so special? Here are some facts:

  • Designed to be inclusive and accessible to everyone – paths and several of the beds are wheelchair accessible
  • Helps people connect gardening and ecology
  • Integrates all of Bernheim’s expertise in one location – Horticulture, Natural Areas, Research, Art, Education and Experience.
  • Meets the most rigorous green design standards in the world, following the principles of Regenerative Design in response to the Living Building Challenge (LBC)
    • Regenerative Design is building to help improve the natural environment and make it healthier. That’s why:
      • The 16 Solar Panels atop the Red Education Shed will generate 5,000 kwh per year, enough to cover the amount the garden will use in a year – Net Zero Energy.
      • The garden uses only water from nature. The water from surrounding buildings and the garden itself is collected in cistern and ponds.
      • The garden practices companion planting, meaning we grow plants in communities where plants help each other.
    • To meet the LBC Criteria, the Edible Garden has to offset its entire carbon footprint. That means every amount of energy used to build and operate must be accounted for. That’s why:
      • The stones that make up the plant beds were cleared from a local pasture.
      • The steel in the Grand Arbor had to be purchased from less than 300 miles away.
      • The solar panels selected were manufactured in America