Fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables could soon be just a five-minute walk away from campus. 

A local, off-campus garden will be established this spring by Student Government Association senator Kaleb Chowning. The garden will provide the Ball State community with local food and hands-on experience.  

“It’s for the students,” Chowning said. “It’s another option for practical experience and healthy food. It’s another sustainable source of local food.”

To create this, Chowning will have to receive approval from Business Affairs and Facilities Management and Scheidler apartments.

Scheidler Apartments, located on Tillotson Avenue, are the likely location for the garden.

I spoke with a director at the Scheidler Apartments and they were supportive of the idea, assuming we could maintain the garden and generate enough, and consistent, student involvement,” Chowning said. “We have the potential land, it’s just doing it the right way.”

“The challenge is most of the work of a garden is when students aren’t here,” said Joe Blalock, chairperson of the department of landscape architecture, whom Chowning spoke with about the idea. “I think it would just take an army of student volunteers to make it work. I’m sure it’s possible.”

Chowning said getting enough volunteers would be difficult, but planned to work with both residents at the apartments and at departments like National Resources and Environmental Management (NREM) to find year-round volunteers to tend the garden.

“Scheidler has year-round residents, so gathering some volunteers in the summer who live there would be beneficial,” Chowning said. “A professor in NREM and I discussed writing grants as well for possible internships or immersive learning courses to address involvement as well.”

Besides student involvement, Chowning said he had other concerns with creating the garden such as:

Cost

“We don’t know the cost yet. That’ll be determined as we work with Business Affairs, Facilities Management, and other various departments to figure out what equipment we need,” Chowning said. “However, I do not see this being any cost to the study body.”

Chowning said the money would come from SGA and grants. Additionally, because Scheidler Apartments are a part of Ball State University, the university won’t have to pay for the land.

Materials

Chowning said the garden will need basic gardening tools, soil testing and water. Professors from NREM and Scheidler Apartments would help provide these.

Cardinal Kitchen

Chowning would like the food from the garden to go to Cardinal Kitchen. Chowning has yet to contact the organization.  

Contact Liz Rieth with comments at ejrieth@bsu.edu or on Twitter at @liz_rieth.