Help the Sustainability Garden grow!

Open All Tabs
  • Composting in the Garden

    NEW Lakeside Village Compost program with ECO
    (First come, first served; Download the Lakeside Village Compost Guide)

    Compost bucket holders can empty their veggie scrap in one of our tumblers (map of the garden). Please, follow the INSTRUCTIONS on your bucket:

    - Only Veggie Scraps; NO Animal Protein, NO plastic (even compostable)
    - Empty your bucket in one of the tumblers
    - Add the same quantity of wood chip than your bucket.
    - Close the tumbler and turn it 3 times.

    If you are on site and need help, PLEASE CALL 786-394-0911

    Compost manager training video. For any questions, please contact: 

    Other compost programs at UM:
    Coffee Grounds 4 Plants helps the Sustainable Food Garden in the Gifford Arboretum

    Farmers Market Smoothie Compost: the Green Grad Group is picking up two 8 gallons of fruits scraps from the smoothie vendor twice a month.

    Smoothie King Compost: Green U partnered with UM Dining and Smoothie King to launch a banana composting program. Just like coffee grounds from Starbucks, the buckets are collected by a team of Green Patrols trained by Tim. Riding the ECO tricycle, they help regenerate the soil of the beautiful Sustainability Garden!

    UM Survey

  • Food Pantry

    The Canes Community Food Pantry is now open! Any student who feels food insecure is welcome to pass by. The Canes Food Pantry works with Good Samaritan, a food bank funded by a Canes alum. It is located in Lakeside Village, behind the Lobby A, across from the Fountain (current "Music Room").
    Hours of Operations: Monday - Thursday, 3 - 7 pm ; Friday, 11 am - 2 pm
    Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and University Holidays

    The 'Canes Food Pantry program was created by students of ECO Agency to provide food relief for low- income students and campus community members and reduce food waste from local grocery stores.

    Donate to the Food Pantry now

  • Garden Activities


    This summer, staff members who don't have access to a garden at home will have a chance to book a small lot of the Sustainability Garden raised beds to start planning for the growing season. This arrangement allows participants who live in condos or townhouses to express their green thumb passion, and even try some edibles from their home country!
    Contact to book your lot (and keep in mind that its first come, first served!)


    The Sustainability Garden in the Arboretum have a weekly maintenance hour on Wednesday, 4-5 pm: Contact to book your spot. All UM community members can help. Weeding, mulching, inspecting, rearranging, adding soil, ... we have a lot to do to make sure our garden is thriving! Thanks in advance for your help. Garden To Do List

    For Staff and Faculty: Reserve your spot now, first come first served, contact;

    For more Community Gardens in South East Florida, visit local community garden;

    Educate yourself with the best in our region, UF-IFAS Miami Dade County Extension - Urban Horticulutre Program:

    Food Forest Tour

    Faculty and students can now plan a tour of UM's Food Forest in the Gifford Arboretum. Faculty and staff receive 100 points on their Well 'Canes card for one hour of volunteering in the garden. Contact for more information

    The CommUnity Garden Club

    Join the CommUnity Garden Club, located in front the School of Architecture's main entrance. To learn how you can get involved and help growing more local delicious produces, visit CommUnity Garden on Facebook. We will have gardening hours for volunteer. Location of the garden will change during Spring 2022. Contact for more information.

  • Miller Food and Herb Garden

    How would you like to step out of your office or health care facility into the sunshine to find a food forest and herb garden awaiting you? Together with Dr. Christina Pozo-Kaderman, medical students, and dieticians, the Facilities and Operations Department and the Office of Sustainability have helped create an oasis of healing and support for the Cancer Support Services' mission. Read the full article. Want to get involved? Contact greenu@miami.edufor opportunities.

    Master Planning Document - MHFG Steering Committee

    Butterfly Gardens at Miller

  • RSMAS Garden by the Sea

    If you are studying or working on the RSMAS campus, and you would like to be involved in the making of the new Green Committee Garden, visit the RSMAS Sustainability Initiative site.

  • Mission of the Sustainability Garden

    Overall Garden structure and vision

    We have delineated two zones to date, the rock-edged perennial/food forest beds ("Sustainable Suburbia") and the annuals-focused geometric trial beds. Groups and classes using these are outlined below. Our focuses and goals are multifold:

    • To promote & teach sustainable gardening practices to the next generation.
    • To specifically focus on edible gardening, gardening for wildlife, and environmentally-friendly gardening practices (e.g. reduced use of pesticides/herbicides, smart water use, etc).
    • To provide garden plots where UM organizations and classes can work on a semester-by-semester basis (Trial Beds) and for longer duration time periods (Perennial Beds).
    • Once sufficiently established, to provide community outreach.


    Development of the Arboretum Sustainability garden continues on multiple fronts. In the geometric trial beds, two new projects this school year are the Square Foot Bed and the Slow Food Ark of Taste Bed. Square foot gardening demonstrates how to grow high diversity and continuing harvest edibles in limited space; the Ark of Taste plantings focus on culturally significant historical food varieties at risk of being lost. For the Alternate Turf project, after completion of the proof-of-concept section and plant selection trials, deployment across the entire walking surface has commenced. The native plants used need less water, trimming and fertilizer than grass; additionally they provide multiple wildlife benefits. In the Sustainable Suburbia perennial section, new plantings include an asparagus bed and a red/purple/yellow flowers nectar bed of pagoda flower/ruellia/native goldenrod. Lastly, in the wall vine planters a grape arbor was built using Arboretum bamboo; two varieties of muscadine grapes are climbing the arbor and already fruiting.

    Activities and Classes:
    Gardening for Wildlife: Plants in the Sustainability Garden
    Class activities in Spring 2020

    Courses using the garden

    1. ECS 215 Intro to Urban/Suburban Green Spaces
    2. ECS 415 Research in Urban/Suburban Green Spaces
    3. ECS 515 Green Space Management
    4. INS 310/ECS 372 Global Foods: A Hands-On Approach
    5. INS 311 Global Food Policy
    6. BIL 227 Botany Lab (*starting fall 2019)
    7. Analytical courses (providing wildlife surveys, groundwater & soil analyses etc)
    8. ECS 112 Field Problems in Ecosystem Science & Policy
    9. ECS 301 Tools for Environmental Decision-Making: The Quantitative Perspective
    10. GSC 410 Environmental Geochemistry

    Professor and students tend to garden

    Students and faculty came together at UM's annual Food Day to highlight the need for sustainable, locally-sourced food. With the world's population rising and climate change putting pressure on worldwide food security, we must take immediate action! But how can we eat fresh and sustainably in the 305? Does growing your own food seem too good to be true? UM's Food Garden in the arboretum is available to everyone and is a fantastic way to get involved on campus. Take the first step toward a plant-based diet, not only for your health, but for the health of the planet. Please contact for more information!

    We (faculty and students) are particularly excited about our mission to recycle/upcycle materials normally deemed "difficult." We have a major focus on recycling materials that would normally be tossed, in our case to build naturally fertile soils that not only reduce external inputs (e.g., 'mined' soils & artificial fertilizers), but also support a diverse and healthy soil community Some of our soil-building materials are:

    • Ramial wood gathered from the adjacent arboretum (used instead of store-bought mulch)
    • Newspapers from the UM library (as moisture-retaining base directly above limestone)
    • Coffee grounds from on-campus Starbucks
    • Banana peels from selected Wednesday on-campus Farmer's market stalls (good source of K)
    • Rabbit manure & bedding from a local house-rabbit rescue/adoption/education center (H.A.R.E.)
    • Seaweed from local beaches (provides a multitude of micronutrients)
    • Worm castings from experimental setups in Biology

  • History of the Sustainability Garden

    The Gifford Arboretum Sustainability Garden is located on the University of Miami Coral Gables campus. Up until summer of 2018, it was a "temporary" dumping ground for tree trimmings etc. from around campus. For almost five years before this, U Miami faculty and students had been campaigning for a dedicated gardening spaces for organizations and classes. During the summer of 2018 the site was cleared and leveled. Garden creation began in August 2018 and has been growing and beautifying since then.

  • Events

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of preserving biodiversity. You can start by creating pollinator havens for butterflies in your own backyard. Professor Terri Hood and Environmental Services Director Frances Kaniewski are both passionate about preserving biodiversity through butterflies, and will provide you with tips on how to build your own garden! Join Build Your Own Butterfly Garden on Friday, July 10 from 8:30-9:30 a.m.

    Recording available here!

    World Food Day Oct. 2021

    The biomedical graduate and medical students at the Miller Herb and Food Garden celebrated Food Day on October 19, with festivities promoting sustainable food systems and the therapeutic power of food. Tours of the Miller Garden "Food Forest" were given to Miller SOM students and Hialeah highschool students who joined for the occasion.

    Everybody helped planting turmeric, harvesting longevity spinach, lemon grass and cuban oregano! Some cared for the plants by adding compost to the soil. Some even learned crafts on stones to take home or adorn the garden. The event took place at the garden, located in front of the Calder Library.






  • Plant List
  • Donate to the Garden


    You are not a UM resident? No problem, check this Compost Map of Miami Dade with all the sites available near you (More information about composting in Miami Dade here.)
    For sustainable food and plant-based diet on campus, visit

    • November 13 – 15 is Early Giving Period
    • November 16 is Give Miami Day