SALEM - Kent State University at Salem is sharing the bounty from its Discovery Garden with deliveries of fresh produce to the Salem Community Pantry in recent weeks.
John Majernik, faculty member of the horticulture program, is helping to oversee the development of the garden, along with fellow instructor Maurice Peoples. They worked with students to plant items such as potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, onions, sweet peppers, carrots, beets, dill, parsley, squash, green beans and a "hodge podge of vegetables."
This past spring, Majernik and Peoples spent time planning, designing and prepping the garden plot, which is essentially an outdoor classroom where individuals can "learn, grow, live and laugh."
Through their planning, people of all ages can learn basic gardening skills, along with new techniques. The Discovery Garden's design helps the teaching process, with wide spaces between the planted rows that allow visitors to walk through the garden without disturbing plants.
This is the first year for the garden, but ideas for expansion are already being considered, including container gardens and other outdoor spaces to expand learning opportunities.
"There are so many possibilities," Majernik said. "This fits nicely with the idea of wellness and healthy lifestyles, knowing that we are growing vegetables and showing people how to take part in a wholesome activity. We'd like to eventually demonstrate how to can and preserve what we grow, and how to make the best use of available space."
Produce from the garden also will be used on campus for a wellness program, but much of the produce will be donated to the Community Pantry and later for a community dinner in the fall.
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