USC’s Teaching Garden revamped: A fresh approach to fresh food

USC Executive Chef Keith Shutta poses with fresh produce in the USC Teaching Garden.

In the heart of Los Angeles, strategically placed between the USC Hotel and a parking structure, there’s a hub for fresh produce that mixes sustainability with health and wellness.

“Obviously, you think about growing a farm in a city space and it seems ironic,” said USC Executive Chef Keith Shutta. “But there are benefits to having it right in your own backyard.”

At the USC Hotel, the USC Teaching Garden has undergone a recent remodel. Instead of a hydroponic system that featured over 60 towers of plants, the new model is equipped with soil-filled basins that allow for two feet of root growth.

This model is ideal for the types of plants that Shutta wants to put in his food. Going on his second year as executive chef, Shutta is optimistic about the possibilities the garden provides for the seasonal menus.

“A lot of the stuff that we plant for the fall carries over in the spring. There’s lots of opportunity to see what we can do for new menu items.”

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