Missoula – University of Montana Dining has received a $10,000 Growth Through Agriculture grant from the Montana Agriculture Development Council. The funds will support the expansion of the on-campus edible garden space. The grant funding will be matched by UM Dining.
The current UM Dining Garden is just steps from the main dining hall on the mountain campus and is going into its fifth production year. The garden consistently has produced around 2,000 pounds of produce at a market value of approximately $11,000. All produce grown in the garden is served on campus to students and campus guests.
“This grant will allow UM Dining to provide more opportunities for student engagement by expanding our on-campus learning laboratory,” said UM Dining Director Mark LoParco.
The garden provides opportunities for student engagement with urban agriculture and the Montana food system. In 2014, six interns earned academic credit for their work in the garden, which totaled 540 hours of service. The new funding will allow UM Dining to triple the size of its food production space on the mountain campus and will allow for greater academic partnership and student engagement opportunities.
“The garden expansion grant proposal was initially conceived as a student academic service learning project,” said Rebecca Wade, director of Health, Nutrition and Sustainability. “Students are increasingly interested and concerned about where their food comes from, and expanding garden space on campus will provide a window into the local and campus food system.”
The Montana Department of Agriculture’s Growth Through Agriculture program offers investments for new and innovative agriculture marketing ideas or agribusiness developments. For more information about the grant or UM dining, call UM Dining Director of Marketing Sam Belanger at 406-243-5089 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.