OCU Receives $60,000 for Community Garden

OCU Receives $60,000 for Community Garden Project

Ohio Christian University (OCU) has received a $60,000 grant from an Ohio Foundation to develop a community garden project. Ohio Christian University agricultural and intercultural studies students will be hired to work on the project. The primary goal of this project is to train students to grow food for themselves and the world so they, in turn, can teach others. The old proverb, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime,” is the focus of this grant. Local farmer Tim Cook will supervise and train the students.

Ohio Christian University students and the community will benefit in several ways as the project includes locally grown fresh vegetables being sold at roadside stands and the local Farmer’s  market to help fund international student mission trips. The community will benefit greatly as excess food will be given to churches, food banks, soup kitchens, and other organizations that help those in need. Additionally, the community gardening project will provide a limited number of small land plots for local community members to raise their own food gardens.

OCU President, Mark Smith, said about the project, “Giving back is a priority at OCU, and we believe this project will provide great community impact.” In addition to learning how to grow food, students will learn good business practices including logistics, accounting, marketing and food distribution. This pilot project will require a best practice writeup for future use.

For the community member garden plots, students will help with preparing the soil, fertilizing, and watering when necessary. The plots will be located across the street from OCU’s main campus at 1476 Lancaster Pike (U.S. Highway 22), just east of Circleville. Those interested in participating should contact OCU’s Student Development Office at 477-7702.

In a time when obesity has become an epidemic in our nation, the benefits of a community garden on health and well-being cannot be overlooked. One of the main objective of First Lady Michelle Obama is getting our children to eat healthier food. Studies show that when children participate in growing their own food, they are more likely to eat it. Having a community garden and involving and teaching children how to grow fresh produce will be valuable in making an impact on teaching them how to eat healthy. As children participate in growing the food, it also gives an opportunity to provide them the healthy produce they need at little or no cost. These benefits can go a long way in our fight against obesity and our desire to see healthier children.

Ohio Christian University is one of the fastest growing universities in Ohio. Over the past six years, enrollment has grown from 400 to 2,600. With a heritage dating back to 1948, Ohio Christian University offers a complete education that develops students intellectually, professionally and spiritually. OCU offers degree programs designed to equip students to become leaders in their careers, communities, families and in the world. Students enrolled in OCU’s traditional undergraduate program attend classes at its main campus in Circleville, Ohio. OCU’s AIM Adult Program offers 15 campus locations as well as online degree programs.