On March 12, 2015, University of California President Janet Napolitano and UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla toured the Ocean View Growing Grounds. The community garden/urban agriculture site is located in Southeast San Diego and was established through a university-UC President Janet Napolitano visits partnership. Collaborators in this effort include the Center for Sustainability Science, Planning and Design, UCSD Superfund Research Center’s Brownfield project and the Global Action Research Center (GlobalARC), a UCSD-affiliated non-profit providing multi-faceted community-building in this disadvantaged section of southeast San Diego. The OVGG site, which was leased to the GlobalARC by the Georgiou family to promote re-use of a vacant lot, is now being transformed into a community garden, food forest, environmental learning center, and a scientific field research station. OVGG represents a first foray into building a direct community-university partnership to improve food security, reduce food disparities, and serves as model for additional urban community garden sites in various planning stages in the area. This site now serves as the initial platform for the multi-campus Urban Agriculture and Food Disparities component of the University of California Global Food Initiative (UC GFI), launched by UC President Janet Napolitano to promote global food security and address related challenges of nutrition and sustainability. President Napolitano’s visit began with a meet and greet with the Georgiou family, the student Global Food Initiative Fellows and faculty researchers funded by the UC GFI, leaders of GlobalARC and Groundwork San Diego, and local residents involved with the project.

Thirty seventh-grade students from Gompers Preparatory Academy, a local K-8 school involved in collaborative learning with OVGG and the Global ARC, were on site planting lavender plants, lettuce and new seedlings during the visit. President Napolitano and Chancellor Khosla planted a Cara Cara orange tree in the food forest, the portion of the site which is re-establishing the beneficial ecological functions of a coastal ecosystem while also providing harvestable food. The President received an illustrative briefing booklet that describes in depth all of the initiatives and research projects underway at OVGG.