Winona State University planted another dimension of learning when it launched the Sustainable, Edible, Education Discovery (SEED) garden in spring 2017.

Funded by the university’s new Green Fee, the garden is intended to give WSU students more access to locally-grown food and provide donations to local organizations and WSU’s new on-campus food shelf, the Warrior Cupboard.

“The goal of the SEED Garden is to educate students on how to grow and maintain a garden using sustainable methods, while also educating them on nutrition and healthy habits,” said Jackson Ramsland, a public health major at WSU. “We want to show students that growing your own food can be easy and fun, and try to impart the importance of nutrition and sustainability.”

The first crops were planted last spring, and included broccoli, Brussels sprouts, corn, sunflowers, beans, tomatoes, carrots, beets, onions, lettuce, kale, zucchini and squash. The first harvest is anticipated this fall.

Jonathon Mauser, assistant professor of chemistry at WSU, helped the students push the project off the ground because of the significance he saw in having the garden on the campus.

“Once you have weeded a patch of dirt with someone, it doesn’t matter that much if you are their student or their professor – you’re just two human beings who care about a common activity,” Mauser said. “For me, community gardening at its core is about building a community through the garden, not just having a garden for the community.”

In addition to building community, the garden is also intended to support educational initiatives like elementary education students learning how to plant gardens at their own schools to math and statistics students using the garden to study variables on plant growth.

The project is accepting donations of tools (old or new), gloves, seed packets, old buckets or containers, wheelbarrows, soil and other gardening supplies. Volunteers are also needed.

For more information contact Ramsland at jramsland14@winona.edu, Mauser at jmauser@winona.edu or visit the WSU SEED Garden Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WSUSEEDGarden/.

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Brian Waldbillig

Brian is a Public Relations major and Communication Studies minor from Farmington, MN. His hobbies include photography, hiking and going to concerts.