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kindergarteners and School of Education students and faculty explore in Purdue Fort Wayne's on-campus urban garden

News Release

PFW to host Farm to School Summit Nov. 14

The first-ever Farm to School Summit will be held at Purdue University Fort Wayne on Nov. 14. Sponsored by the School of Education and starting at 2 p.m. in the Classic Ballroom at Walb Student Union, the summit gathers local experts to discuss the possibilities for getting local food into schools and institutions, sustainable food systems, and the importance of providing children with learning experiences at area gardens and farms.

Topics for the event include school gardens, food and farming curriculum, and local food procurement in schools. Input will be provided by college students, teachers, farmers, child nutrition professionals, community partners, and advocates will will be coming together to network and share knowledge about Farm to School in northeast Indiana.

“The idea behind the event was to build awareness,” said Julia Smith, PFW assistant professor of early childhood development. “This is something that I’ve been teaching in my class for a while, the idea of school gardens and getting children outdoors, connected to nature and learning where our food comes from. There are a lot of connections to learning when you are teaching children hands-on experiential learning outdoors rather than everything taking place in the classroom.”

Smith has organized the School of Education’s urban garden located at the Allen County Extension Office for several years. Produce from the gardens is given to PFW’s FRIENDS of the University Pantry.

Brianna Goode, Indiana Department of Health Farm to School coordinator, will be the keynote speaker. Smith will end the day's presentations at 4:15 p.m. by leading a panel discussion on what’s happening in northeast Indiana.

“The school of education is proud of our urban garden and the work of Julia Smith and the team that put it together,” said Isabel Nunez, dean of the School of Education. “This is an opportunity to bring young people into a natural space and learn about healthy eating, sustainable agriculture and deepen their commitment to a healthy environment.”

Purdue Extension of Allen Country, the Northeast Indiana Farm to School Team, and Northeast Indiana Farm to School Network are helping organize the summit. More information about the event and registration is available by clicking here. Though the event is free, donations to PFW's Pantry will be accepted at the Purdue Fort Wayne Giving Page via the gold CLICK HERE TO SELECT YOUR FUND(S) tab.

To learn more, contact Smith at [email protected]. For additional information, contact Blake Sebring at [email protected] or 260-385-0092 (mobile).