University of Indianapolis is poised to combine the student-centered work and community focus of Health Sciences, Nursing, Center for Aging and Community, and College of Arts and Sciences into a new venture in small-plot gardening, community wellness, nutrition, and sustainability in partnership with Community Health Network.
Why might this be a valuable idea for Indy? Small-plot gardens will utilize vacant lots on the fringes of campus to produce food for local food pantries, to use in student projects and research, and for a campus farmers market or CSA. The goal of small-plot gardens is to showcase the ease of bringing healthy food to any location and to teach our students how to run and use these types of gardens. Small, urban gardens provide for integrated healthcare, community wellness, food production, and neighborhood greening, increasing food access in food deserts.
Using the 20000 pounds of vegetables per acre that Indy Urban Acres produces on their 2 acres, we can expect to produce 10000 pounds of vegetables each year.
Another campus outcome for small-plot gardens is for fresh food for the campus dining halls. Additionally, new healthy campus initiatives can focus around the gardens. A Farmers Market on UIndy’s campus each week could attract visitors to UIndy and provide many opportunities for our students to apply their knowledge.