Student Summer Scholars


agroecology, agricultural education


Earth Sciences




This study was part of a twelve- week project to introduce agroecology growing principles and educational models at the Community Garden on the campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. This project was set up to be a demonstration for the further development of the garden space as an area for agroecology focused education, extension, and outreach. To accomplish this, three areas of change became essential components to developing a garden space that can serve as a living laboratory, demonstration area, and outdoor classroom. The first project goal was to develop and create a demonstration garden plot that would include diverse growing models in order to explore the best land management practices for small- scale community garden growing. The second project goal was to develop an agriculture education program that would include preschool students, K-12 students, and university students. These programs would be instrumental in introducing students to the diverse topics in agricultural education and to present the opportunity to experience working in outdoor fieldwork that adheres to ecologically aware principles. The third project goal was to use sustainability as a measure of the quality of our garden management while determining how to assess the environmental, resource consumption, and economic impacts of our garden. The purpose of this twelve- week project was to initiate a preliminary project to expand research and education in the future at the community garden site. The purpose of this paper is to provide a summary of the work that was done throughout the summer as this project was sponsored by the Undergraduate Research Council at Grand Valley State University as part of the Student Summer Scholars (S3) grant program.