Lana Zimmer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, St. Joseph’s College, 2013-2014 Member

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To expose students to urban agriculture and opportunities for entrepreneurship, Lana Zimmer, Ph.D. was the first to secure a competitive grant at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer from the Ball Foundation Venture Fund to establish the Hoophouse Farming Eduventure. The hoophouse – also called high tunnel farming –  has 15 ft. ceilings  that allows vegetables to grow vertically. This facility that allows four-season agriculture was recently visited by more than 50 students participating in SLYCE. This is a 7-county youth leadership program launched by The South Shore Leadership Center. “They were surprising knowledgeable about the food localization movement and issues related to food, social justice and the environment,” she added. The hoophouse was funded with a $25,000 grant, one of three awarded by the Ball Foundation Venture Fund in 2012. This provides seed money to innovative start-up programs among the 31 member institutions of the Independent Colleges of Indiana. The Hoophouse “…has been a tremendous addition” to Saint Joseph’s sustainable agriculture program launched in 2011. As part of a broader sustainability action plan, this includes a Community Learning Garden. This is a one-half acre organic vegetable garden managed by faculty and students, and also involving members of the community who purchase shares to buy vegetables. “The hoophouse gives the college additional programming for sustainable agriculture to increase production, protect the environment and build stronger communities.”

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