Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Home » News » Local News » New Garden at Penn State Aims to Fight Food Insecurity

New Garden at Penn State Aims to Fight Food Insecurity

Video and reporting by Gabriella Hornack | Centre County Report

Tomatoes, peppers, beans and greens — you’ll find them all at Penn State’s newest pocket garden. But aside from aside from adding a little color to campus, the garden looks to tackle the issue of food insecurity at University Park.

The Schreyer pocket garden is a two-year pilot program that will be built in a courtyard outside Simmons Hall, easily accessible to students, faculty and staff.

The idea started with Vancie Peacock, a second-year Schreyer Honors College scholar and green thumb enthusiast.

“When I came to Penn State, I noticed that even though Penn State is an agricultural school not that many students knew about growing food or where their food comes from,” Peacock says.

That idea quickly grew into a full-fledged effort to aid students struggling to afford food.

“I wanted to create a garden that could not only provide fresh food to students but also serve as a physical reminder that this is an issue that exists on campus,” Peacock says

Hunger and food insecurity affect many Pennsylvania residents, but the issue is often overlooked on college campuses. A national survey by The Hope Center indicates that nearly 41% of students at four-year institutions struggle with food insecurity.

Initiatives like the Schreyer pocket garden hope to mitigate hunger one fruit and veggie at a time.

Once the garden is complete, open garden hours will be offered weekly throughout the growing season. Participants will be able to join in on daily tasks and learn about local agriculture. The produce grown by volunteers will then be donated to the Lion’s Pantry, the student food pantry on campus.

“We just aim to help students who can’t help themselves because at Penn State we’re all about helping as much as we can,” Lion’s Pantry volunteer Taylor Dorsett says.

Volunteers will soon see first-hand efforts students like Peacock are taking to mitigate food insecurity.