Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) is creating a community garden this fall. Produce from the garden will benefit the college’s culinary school and Ginnie’s Place, a restaurant located in the Center for Nonprofits. The purpose of the community garden is to offer students a chance for hands on experience in sustainable and organic agriculture.
Northwest Arkansas Community College is located in Bentonville, Arkansas. In May 2010 the Board of Trustees approved the creation of a community garden. The college serves students in Benton and Washington counties. Current enrollment is about 8,000 students.
Initially the garden will consist of nine, 4 foot by 4 foot planter boxes. They will be located near NWACC’s newest building, The Shewmaker Global Business Development Center.
The garden will incorporate multiple college departments. The agriculture department which is part of the college’s science department will oversee produce selection, harvest and management. The math and other science department will handle purchasing, inventory and loss control. The business and computer departments will handle business management, the website and ordering.
NWACC plans to offer the produce from the garden to the Culinary School at NWACC and to sell the produce to Ginnie’s Place. Ginnie;s Place offers the students of the Culinary School a chance to cook and prepare meals in a real life setting. Other plans include online ordering of seeds and produce once the garden is producing and products are being harvested.
Maintaining the garden and the business operations generated from it will be incorporated into the curriculum at NWACC. Kickoff for the garden will be on October 15, 2010 at the community garden site.
Benefit to Students
The community garden should benefit the students at NWACC by offering them a chance to get involved in every aspect of starting, maintaining and managing a sustainable, organic garden. Everything from the setup of the garden to the tracking of sales and inventory will be managed by the students. The garden is offering them real life experience.
It is exciting to see how NWACC is evolving to keep up with current trends and issues. The community garden project is demonstrating that NWACC understands agriculture is still a major industry in this part of the country. Farming has become a science; there is more to it than just planting or raising cattle. This garden project is focusing on the sustainability and organic aspects of farming. Students will come away with the skills and an understanding of what is involved with running a sustainable, modern farm.
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