Healthful Gardener Certificate

Healthful Gardener Certificate

The jane b semel HCI Community Garden, in collaboration with the EatWell Pod at the UCLA Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center, is offering a new 4-week hybrid Healthful Gardener learning certificate program. Through this program, participants will learn about health through gardening, from growing food in the soil to digesting what you harvest and cook in your stomach! Participants have the flexibility to complete this 4-module program in 8 hours at their own pace, and have the option to spend time (at least 4 hours recommended) learning through in-person hands-on gardening and culinary projects.

The Healthful Gardener Certificate begins with how soil and its biome is the foundation of plant biology, health, nutrition. Participants will then explore a range of vegetables and other edible plants, and their nourishing benefits through vitamins, minerals, fiber, and prebiotic properties that feed our essential gut bacteria. The journey ends in our stomachs, where we will learn more about how our gut bacteria microbiome not only helps us digest our food, but has an important relationship to our immune systems and other biological functions. Participants also have optional avenues to further explore how gardening, food, and human health can be part of a food system that supports a more sustainable and just future on our planet.

We are excited to launch and offer this program for Winter Quarter 2022, giving you the option to complete this program at your own pace between weeks 5 and 10. Participants can join us outside at the jane b semel HCI Community Garden and online through BruinLearn, with opportunities to attend workshops led by UC Master Gardeners, professors, and chefs. Most importantly, you’ll get to learn with a community of individuals with similar interests and passions for gardening connected to food and health!

Sign up by 2/7/22 to participate in hybrid option, and 2/20/22 to participate online

Email us at with any questions or if you are interested in sharing your knowledge & research, or teaching a workshop with us.

  • Learn about growing nutrient-packed plants, such as fruits and vegetables
  • Connect gardening to culinary and health practices
  • A community of individuals who are passionate about food, gardening and well-being and exchange knowledge in person and online

*Please note that we are unable to offer course credits for participation at this time

  • Online or Hybrid learning: platform on BruinLearn and in person on campus (or from the comfort of your own home garden)
  • Access to our seed library, equipment, supplies, and other resources for hands-on learning through gardening at the jane b semel HCI Community Garden (located in Sunset Canyon Recreation), or assistance with where and how to garden near you
  • In-person opportunities and Slack platform to connect with other learners and gardeners
  • Access to master gardeners and researchers who share a passion for gardening, health, and food
  • Upon request, we can make arrangements for access to a raised bed plot in the community garden (based on availability)
  • Upon completion, you will earn a recognition certificate from the jane b semel HCI Community Garden, which is part of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative

Required online learning portion consists of four two-hour modules, for 8 hours in total to complete. An additional 4 hours of in-person hands-on learning is recommended through our workshops and the module gardening projects.

Step 1: Sign up through this form to indicate your interest in registering for this program, and select a 30-minute zoom orientation with the program facilitators.

Step 2:  Join the “jane b semel HCI Community garden” Slack Channel to join a community of gardeners and receive important information about the certificate program and learning opportunities including in-person workshops. 

Step 3: Set up* or log into Bruinlearn to access our course materials, and attend a 30-minute orientation with the program facilitators for an introduction to the program modules. Everyone who registers through the sign-up form will be enrolled in the class using the email they provided. You should have access to the course by January 31, 2022, but please email if you cannot access the course materials on BruinLearn by that date. 

*Those who are new to using BruinLearn (Canvas Online Learning Platform) can watch this video tutorial.

Step 4: Start the certificate’s required online modules any time, and attend optional workshops offered between Week 5 to Week 10. Each of the 4 modules consists of 2 hours of short readings, videos (with transcripts available), quizzes that help you focus on key gardening and health takeaways, and 3 mini-assignments that complement the workshops and hands-on learning you’ll have with food and gardening. 

**Quizzes and assignments are not graded, only counted for completion to earn the certificate. This course is designed to give you applicable gardening and nutrition knowledge, as well as tangible takeaways to share with friends and community!**

Module topics:

  1. How does soil biology help us grow nutritious food?
  2. How to maximize nutrient density in crops?
  3. What are the most nutritious vegetables you can grow?
  4. How does growing your own food support Gut Microbiome and Planetary Health?

*Online learning comes with short hands-on learning assignments you can complete at home

Step 5: After completing your last module, our garden oversight committee will contact you by end of finals week to issue you the Healthy Gardener Certificate of Recognition

(Optional) Hands-on hybrid learning opportunities:

While not mandatory, we highly recommend you participate in the hands-on learning along with the online modules. We encourage those in the UCLA community to join us at the jane b semel UCLA Community Garden or use gardening space accessible to them to complete the following:

  1. Grow nutrient dense vegetables and plants that are beneficial for gut health using the provided class resources (starting in module 1). 
  2. Photograph EACH of these plants as they grow in your garden (1. planting stage, 2. growing stage, 3. harvesting stage). This program ends week 10, so there is no expectation for everyone to get past the growing stage.
  3. Submit your work from the previous steps. (Note: If you ‘brix’ test your harvest, include the results with your work.)

(Winter 2022 schedule to be confirmed by February 1, and subject to change).

We will be hosting in-person and virtual workshops on the below topics about healthful gardening. While attending the workshops is not mandatory to complete the certificate, we highly recommend you participate in these exciting opportunities to learn from food and gardening experts:

  • Tuesday, February 8th from 1-2pm: Bokashi Composting and Soil Enrichment Dr. James Bassett (online)
  • Thursday, February 17th from 1-2pm: Fermentation Workshop with Chef Julia from the Teaching Kitchen (online)
  • Date TBD: Soil and Gut Microbiome Health

 If you have any questions, please feel free to email them to our Garden Oversight Committee at