By: Shawn Carmichael & Mike Rhodes—
Muncie, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College East Central Region’s Gardens of Ivy project is nearing completion in time for spring planting. On April 4th at 3 pm, a major milestone in construction was reached when the Ivy Tech Totem was set in the center of the garden.
This raised bed garden located at the Muncie Cowan Road Campus was designed and constructed by students in the Agriculture, Design, Building Technology, and Welding Programs. The garden will serve students, many of whom live in a food desert, by providing a source of fresh vegetables. Beds will be adopted and maintained by student volunteers, faculty and program sponsors, and by members of FFA District 9. Distribution of vegetables will be supervised by the Ivy Tech Office of Student Life. Surplus produce grown throughout the season will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank for redistribution to its community partners.
The project has been implemented in collaboration with the following community partners who shared expertise or donated services:
- Ashton Land Surveyors
- FFA District 9
- MacAllister Rentals
- McCreary Excavation
- Muncie Metal Spinning
- Tiffany Lawn & Garden Supply
The initial concept was the result of a feasibility study prepared by students over a 16 week period. These students compiled 300 pages of research resulting in a 60 page proposal. The project’s initial funding was provided by the Award of a Campus Compact of Indiana Scholarship of Engagement grant in 2015 and through a federal Perkins Career and Technical Education Grant. Fifty students and faculty, over six semesters, have contributed to the design and construction of the garden. The project has offered students a cross curricular experience while contributing to the betterment of the wider community.
According to Jim Savage, of Ivy Tech’s Design Technology Program, porous materials that retain water and cool the garden during the summer were utilized in the bed construction. The beds also feature an under bed irrigation system. The soil mix is an engineered mix, that allows water to easily penetrate the soil. The raised beds will consist of vegetables, and the center bed will consist of native plants and herbs for the purpose of attracting bees to assist with pollination.
Initial planting is expected to take place around May 1st.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.