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Walter Robb family

Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb (right ) was on hand with his family to dedicate the expansion of the Ted Robb and Chris Robb Community Garden, and the creation of the Abigail Robb Plaza and Bon Appetit Management Co. Native Garden on Pacific’s Stockton campus. Abigail Robb (left, holding her son Max), Chris Robb ’06, Ted Robb ’02, and Walter Robb stand in front of the expanded garden.

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Whole Foods Co-CEO gives $400K for Pacific gardens

Sep 24, 2015

Generations of University of the Pacific students will be able to get their hands dirty while learning about sustainable food practices thanks to a $400,000 gift from Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb.

Robb, a former Pacific regent, made the gift to expand the on-campus garden he established in 2012 in honor of his alumni sons. His new gift will triple the footprint of the Ted and Chris Robb Garden and create the Abigail Robb Plaza in honor of his daughter.

An accompanying native garden will take root with a separate gift from the Bon Appétit Management Company, which operates more than 650 cafés in 33 states, including at University of the Pacific.

The Robb and Bon Appétit Native Gardens will serve as a catalyst for educating students and the community about locally grown produce and sustainable practices, as well as teach lifelong wellness skills.  The gardens will be dedicated today at a ceremony on campus.

"Pacific is an incredible institution that has meant a great deal to my family and me," Robb said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to contribute to its growth, and witness how Pacific's invaluable resources continue to enrich the lives of the students as well as the lives of those in the surrounding communities."

In the last three years, the Robb Garden has donated 1,488 pounds of fresh, organic produce to St. Mary's Interfaith Dining Hall and other local nonprofits.

Plaques for the Robb Garden Expansion DedicationThe new Bon Appétit Native Garden reflects the Bon Appétit Management Company's vision of sustainable practices and services.

"Our companywide commitment to sustainability isn't just about food practices," said Fedele Bauccio, the company's co-founder and CEO. "It's about conservation, environmental impact, promoting humane agricultural practices, and supporting the local communities in which we work and live. With increasingly limited water resources, the promotion of native plants that can thrive with minimal water is an exciting addition to Pacific's gardens. We are proud to be a part of it."

In addition to its presence at University of the Pacific, the Palo Alto-based company also operates cafes at Google, eBay, AT&T Park and the Getty Center, and contracts with more than 1,200 registered Farm to Fork vendors.

Landscaped with carefully chosen native trees, shrubs, flowers and rock specimens, the Bon Appétit Native Garden will feature an array of native California plants and illustrate the many benefits of native plants, including drought resistance, pest resistance and support of local ecosystems, especially pollinator populations.

"Our gardens bring together students, faculty, staff and the community," said Pamela A. Eibeck, president of University of the Pacific, "Their vitality reflects the extraordinary passion of our volunteers and donors, and the strength of Pacific's commitment to educating our students and the community about sustainability."

Robb and Bon Appétit's gifts also will expand garden storage and establish a resource library that will provide space for students to conduct research and access resources related to environmental studies, sustainability and gardening. These components are expected to be added in the coming year.

Media contact:    Claudia Morain | 209.946.2313 (office) | 209.479.9894 (cell) | cmorain@pacific.edu

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