Allen County

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School of Education Partners with Master Gardeners

February 3, 2020
Students in community garden

Purdue Extension-Allen County is uniquely positioned on the Purdue Fort Wayne (PFW) campus. Our location allows access to a myriad of campus resources but we have not successfully connected with many groups from PFW. One of our intentions this year was to connect with and support campus groups to better leverage our collective resources. One of which is the School of Education at PFW. The partnership started in January with a chance meeting with Dr. Julia Smith, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education. We discussed the possibility of a collaborative urban teaching garden on campus. By February we applied for a Collective Impact grant and received notice in March the grant was fully funded to bring this idea to fruition. By April, we rallied for two days to construct and fill six raised beds with the help of eight Master Gardeners, 16 students, two PFW faculty, and two Extension Educators. The team of students and faculty found fellowship with Master Gardeners by attending numerous events. The team celebrated the end of the season with a Fall Harvest Festival and Harvest Dinner attended by 50 people, including faculty, students, and community members. In its first year, the School of Education Urban Garden met its goals of creating engaging social opportunities for students, utilizing the garden as a teaching tool for implementing hands on K-12 curriculum projects, and providing a space in which students can learn life skills of growing their own food, better nutrition, and community sustainability. We are looking forward to continuing to grow in 2020.

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