By Christina Salvatore

The slogan is Growing Green: Livonia’s Community Teaching Garden, and it’s taking the community by storm.  Madonna University, Schoolcraft College, Livonia Public Schools, and the City of Livonia have all been rewarded their very own grant to plant and grow delicious vegetables for their local community to enjoy. 

Three funding and coordinating organizations such as The Midwest Campus Compact Consortium, Learn and Serve America, and The University of Wisconsin-Extension gave the recent grant that will help create this enormous garden. 

The Garden is located on Newburgh Rd. at Greenmead Historical Village and planting will begin between the last week in May and first week in June.

Laura Kull, a professor at Madonna University, is a leader in organizing this garden.

“We are very excited about this local garden and have the best Dietetics Department in the state to make this garden fantastic,“ said Kull.

Greenmead Historical Village has 243 plots at their facility and Madonna has rented one and had the other plot donated to them from the city of Livonia.  The plots are 25 by 25 feet and have enough room to grow as many vegetables as needed. 
Not only is this garden going to be growing nutritious vegetables, but also an enormous amount of educational opportunities will be available for local students.  Livonia Public Schools will have 200 third grade students grow seedlings in their classroom and will have the opportunity to take field trips to the garden in June to plant them.  Not only will the students be able to have the experience of visiting the garden, but they will also receive a handout with numerous amounts of information regarding the garden to encourage families to visit in the summer months.  St. Michael School in Livonia will also be involved and will have 90 third grade students visiting the local garden. 

Madonna will have two plots with huge amounts of vegetables.  One plot will have organic vs. conventional foods and the other plot is a fun garden plan this is currently in the works. 

“Students at Madonna are growing a number of the seeds in a science lab under their seed lamps,” said Kull.

Since March is National Nutrition Month, Dietetic students from Madonna’s Nutrition Network are scheduled for Nutrition Education/Garden Education classes in Livonia Public Schools during the months of March and April.  There will be over 1300 Kindergarten through sixth grade students participating in the activities. 

Madonna’s Dietetic students Barbara Bovchard and Tricia Bischoff have also been very involved in this process.  Bischoff mentioned that they will head down to the food garden in Detroit and will help out at their facility.

“We will do a garden swap with the kids in Detroit, we will go down there and they will then come to our local garden to lend a hand,” said Bischoff.

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program is a major part in this process as well.   There will be spring, summer, and fall STEM courses at Madonna and possibly Schoolcraft College and will include a service learning/hands on education component that will take place during this course.  It will help students get more involved and learn about this program. 

Madonna’s Graphic Design students developed the STEM logo for this project and it took up to 15 designs to be submitted until they settled on one. 

Volunteers are needed through out this process and through the summer months to water, weed, maintain the garden, and answer questions when locals visit. 

All produce will be donated to Focus Hope, which has four locations in Livonia and also Trinity Park, which is a subsidized housing for elderly residents. 

If you are interested in volunteering visit https://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/c/638352/ or for more information on this outstanding gardening project contact GrowingGreen@madonna.edu.