Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cross-cultural experiences at the garden

On September 19, students from Japan spent the morning at the community garden. They participated in IUP's American Language Institute (ALI), an intensive English language program. ALI plans trips and outings for students to practice English outside of the classroom while learning about life in the U.S.

ALI instructor Ravyn McKee and garden coordinator/master gardener Kay Snyder introduced students to various gardening activities. They weeded and cultivated vegetable and strawberry beds, and planted flower seeds. These were new experiences for them. One student commented that there were no community gardens in Japan where she and her cohorts lived.

The students helped harvest vegetables and took some back to their residence hall. Using fresh potatoes they dug up that day, they made potato salad and shared with one another.

The students really enjoyed their time at the community garden, and they returned the following week. Anthropology students from Dr. Poole's Cultural Ecology class were also at the garden that day. The community garden was a warm and welcoming setting for the students as the two groups engaged in conversations with each other, gaining cross-cultural experiences while learning about gardening and ecology.

Japanese student Riko Okutani watered seeds that were sown for a winter cover crop. The cover crop will protect the soil while improving soil texture and fertility for next year's growing season.

American and Japanese students learned a little bit about each other and enjoyed one another's company as they pulled weeds and installed plant identification tags.

The day was quite warm. Crisp, sweet watermelon, obtained locally from the Indiana County Farmers Market, was a perfect and refreshing component of a light lunch under the pavillion.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

This past Monday, volunteers from the Indiana Community Garden, Penn State Extension Master Gardeners, and IUP's Department of Food and Nutrition worked together to bring fresh, nutritious garden produce to people. They harvested vegetables, greens, and herbs from the community garden and home gardens for donation to Zion Food Bank's bimonthly food distribution to low-income individuals and families. 

Master Gardeners Cindy Hatcher and Chloe Drew clipped herbs from a community garden plot sponsored and maintained by the Indiana Garden Club.

Master Gardener Jim Bernard donated several pounds of kale from his home garden for this week's food donation.

Super-nutritious kale was a featured produce item in this week's donation. A information sheet containing recipes, facts about kale's nutritional value, and shopping tips was distributed to clients who selected fresh produce.

Marie Olson, a Master Gardener and founder of the Indiana Community Garden, helped people select vegetables and answered their questions.

Recipes and food preservation cards were created and provided by IUP's Department of Food and Nutrition. Nicole Dann, an instructor in Food and Nutrition, coordinates community garden outreach efforts to a local food bank.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


JULY 27, 2014
The 2nd annual Taste & Tour was held yesterday, and many people came to learn what's new at the garden. Garden volunteers and Master Gardeners were on hand to provide information and answer questions on many topics related to gardening and sustainability. There were demonstrations on composting, bats and bat houses, and rainwater collection systems. There were foods available for sampling, such as pesto and kale salad, as well as Jason Gamble's famous garden-fresh pasta salad.

Ellen Chin explained herbs and native plants and their uses.

One of the fun learning opportunities for kids was making seed bombs. Seed bombs are small balls made up of a combination of clay, compost, and seeds. Click here for more information on this new and fun way to seed the earth. Gretchen McCormick, an IUP student majoring in Biology, showed children how to make their own seed bombs with native wildflower seeds.

Kids also made their own bee hotels. Native bees are essential as crop pollinators, and they overwinter in hollow stems. Bee hotels are a simple and quick way to help increase their populations. Click here for info on making your own beautiful and useful bee hotel. For an in-depth article on native bees and the tunnel-type nests they need, click here (you'll need to have Adobe installed on your computer to open and view the PDF). Bee hotels make great hand-crafted gifts for your gardening friends!

Tom Nowak, a Master Gardener, showed children how a worm farm works. He explained how worms live and improve the soil, and how to maintain the worms.