FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – Purdue University Fort Wayne’s Institute for Research, Scholarship, and Creative Endeavors has awarded a grant to four School of Education faculty members and a Purdue Extension Educator to create the university’s first on-campus urban garden. The quintet plans to engage students in the School of Education and Master Gardeners from the Purdue/Allen County Extension Office with the creation, cultivation, harvesting, and enjoyment of the new garden.
Principles of the grant—Julia Smith, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education; Jeff Nowak, Professor of Education; Sharon Parnin, Clinical Assistant Professor of Education Psychology; Joe Ohlinger, Visiting Assistant Professor in Education; and Terri Theisen, Purdue Extension Educator in Horticulture—will oversee the work done by students with the help of Master Gardener volunteers.
Peace Montessori elementary students are also taking part in the Urban Garden project. They will be starting seedlings in their classroom, which they will plant with the assistance of School of Education students later this spring.
“We want to create opportunities for students to learn to work together on a shared project with other students, faculty, and community partners,” says Smith. “We’re also using the garden as a teaching tool for implementing hands-on K–12 curriculum projects that are related to ‘farm to school’ and science teaching standards.”
The plan for the first year of the two-year grant is to begin with an introductory meeting for the students, faculty, and Extension volunteers on Wednesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in the Student Housing Clubhouse.
Over the summer months, the students and Master Gardeners will have weekly workdays to maintain the garden, and when necessary, harvest produce.