Course number: GEOG 40195 (Special Topics)
Title: Campus and Community Gardens
Instructor: Christopher Post, PhD, associate professor of geography
Description: Three-week summer intersession course at Kent State University at Stark that explores the complications of large-scale agriculture and the potential of local community gardening as a remedy for “food deserts”—areas, including much of Stark County, that lack fresh produce.
Film: Food, Inc.
Readings: Academic articles from highly-ranked journals in geography, in addition to readings from The New York Times and other media outlets
Field Trips: Kent State University at Salem Campus Garden, Flash’s Food Pantry at the Stark Campus, local nurseries (for seeds, seedlings, and supplies)
Projects: Students survey entire states (such as Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, California) for examples of campus gardens. Gleaning ideas from these examples, along with information from readings and other course activities, students design, plan and plant a campus garden on the Stark Campus (result: two 4-foot by 8-foot raised beds).
Outcomes: Educational tool that teaches students about sustainability and the benefits and challenges of both corporate and local agriculture, including the goals of campus and community gardens and the means by which they are produced. Creation of a local food incubator for Stark Campus kitchens (Emporium Grille and Conference Center) that also serves local community needs through Flash’s Food Pantry, Refuge of Hope and the Akron-Canton Food Bank.
Ongoing: During the summer, a student employee cares for the garden, along with students in the class who formed a club. This fall, students in classes such as Sociology of Food and Human Geography will help, as well.
See more photos of the Campus Garden on Flickr.