In March, Dr Luke Drake took eleven students to Port Vila, the capital of the South Pacific Nation of Vanuatu, to work with the Hango Hango Community Association to identify suitable locations for new urban gardens, and then build thirteen gardens across the city.
The project also involved Ambae chiefs based in Port Vila and community members from Walaha village who were compulsorily evacuated from Ambae Island following the second eruption of the Manaro Voui volcano in mid-2018.
The new gardens use planting containers made of fabric that will help plants grow more quickly so that produce can be used as extra food supply for the evacuees who are staying in temporary shelters spread across Port Vila for an unknown period of time.
The evacuees left behind their customary land that provided self-sufficiency in terms of food and housing.
The student project, which incorporated the use of geographic information system (GIS) technology to map the location of evacuees, won first place from a field of twenty-five in the Annual California State University, Northridge Research and Service-Learning Symposium.