Pellissippi State launches sustainable garden, food pantry

Annie Gray
Annie Gray, program coordinator of Service-Learning at Pellissippi State, shows off lettuce grown in the Hardin Valley Campus Garden.

Pellissippi State Community College is building on a history of sustainability and service with a new campus garden and food pantry.

The garden, which is located on the Hardin Valley Campus, is not only an outdoor education and community service hub, but a supplier of local produce to the college cafeteria. A significant portion of the food produced will help low-income students at Pellissippi State.

“What makes this project unique is not only the sustainability aspect, but the emphasis on providing for students in need and educating them about healthy food choices amid real concerns about poverty,” said Annie Gray, Service-Learning coordinator and leader of this project.

The Hardin Valley Campus Garden will complement a new food pantry that will support college students who struggle with chronic hunger issues. Most of the garden’s produce — 75 percent — will supplement the food distributed through this new Pellissippi Pantry, which also will partner with Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.

The remaining food from the garden will supplement Hardin Valley Campus cafeteria food offerings, available to anyone.

The Pellissippi Pantry will be available on all five Pellissippi State campuses in Knox and Blount counties. It will offer qualified students healthy packaged and fresh food, as well as nutrition education. It will launch for at-risk students this summer.

Research shows there’s a need for this type of outreach. A 2015 study out of the University of Wisconsin has shown that, nationally, about 52 percent of community college students experience ongoing food insecurity, or the inability to readily access healthy or nutritious food. Atlantic magazine has reported that 22 percent of community college students nationwide reported they’d gone hungry due to a lack of money.

Pellissippi Pantry will operate on a basis of confidentiality. Students will be identified to workers only by an ID and will be able to discreetly pick up food at a pre-specified time and location.

Pellissippi State has a history of launching sustainable and service-oriented gardens. In partnership with other local organizations, the college opened the Pond Gap Elementary School community garden in 2013 as part of the Service-Learning program. That community garden has been a widely-regarded success in enhancing curriculum and after-school programs and providing healthy food for Pond Gap students and their families.

For more information about how to support the Pellissippi Pantry or the Hardin Valley Campus Garden, contact the Pellissippi State Foundation at www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call 865-694-6528. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

 

Download this news release: PSCC Garden Pantry

Science Olympiad at Pellissippi State rescheduled to March 7

The East Tennessee regional Science Olympiad competition, hosted by Pellissippi State Community College, has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 7, due to inclement weather.

Science Olympiad brings together middle and high school teams to compete against one another in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, events. Events might include a building competition in which students use the basics of engineering and physics to build a bridge that can support the largest amount of weight. Or students might take part in a laboratory competition in which they apply chemistry and biology to identify mystery powders.

“Science Olympiad is great because it exposes these students to so many different real-life applications of STEM academics,” said Morvarid Bejnood, a Pellissippi State instructor who is planning the event.

“It gives these middle and high school students the opportunity to visit Pellissippi State’s campus, to see our science labs and meet our faculty, as well as to meet local scientists and professionals in STEM fields. Science Olympiad is wonderful for education.”

More than 250 students are expected to take part in the competition. Winning teams go on to compete at the state level.

In addition, dozens of Pellissippi State students will serve as volunteers for the event through the college’s Service-Learning program.

The presenting sponsor of this Science Olympiad competition at Pellissippi State is STEMspark, the East Tennessee STEM education hub of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network and the national STEMx coalition.

To learn more about Pellissippi State and its STEM and other academic offerings, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State to host Science Olympiad

posted in: Events, Service-Learning, Students | 0

Pellissippi State Community College will host hundreds of middle and high school students Saturday, Feb. 21, for the East Tennessee regional Science Olympiad competition.

Science Olympiad brings together school-based teams to compete against one another in science, technology, engineering and math events. Events might include a building competition that teaches the basics of engineering and physics to students called on to build a bridge that can support the largest amount of weight or a laboratory competition that teaches chemistry and biology as students identify mystery powders.

“Science Olympiad is great because it exposes these students to so many different real-life applications of STEM academics,” said Morvarid Bejnood, a Pellissippi State instructor who is planning the event.

“It gives these middle and high school students the opportunity to visit Pellissippi State’s campus, to see our science labs and meet our faculty, as well as to meet local scientists and professionals in STEM fields. Science Olympiad is wonderful for education.”

More than 250 students are expected to take part in the competition. Winning teams go on to compete at the state level.

In addition, dozens of Pellissippi State students will serve as volunteers for the event through the college’s Service-Learning program.

To learn more about Pellissippi State and its STEM and other academic offerings, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State hosts permaculture expert Peter Bane for lecture

Where is your next meal coming from?

Not a question of poverty but a statement about food security, it’s the topic of discussion when permaculture expert Peter Bane visits Pellissippi State Community College for an upcoming lecture.

The free presentation is 12:30-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3. It takes place in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The event is open to the community.

“The implications of the humble garden and of local food are far-reaching,” said Bane, author of “The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country.”

“Permaculture” refers to the concept of agricultural ecosystems designed to be sustainable and self-sufficient. Bane, a frequent lecturer and speaker, promotes urban and suburban “garden farming,” which may include vegetable gardens, tree crops, and even animal husbandry.

“From up in the atmosphere to down on the table,” he said, “I’ll speak about how permaculture, climate security and food security are things that impact everyone, every day. Considering the question ‘Where is my next meal coming from?’ is something that will make our food access safer and more secure in the future.”

Bane’s presentation is part of Pellissippi State’s ‘Good Food For All’ yearlong campaign. The campaign encourages civic engagement regarding food access issues through the college’s Service-Learning program and Sustainable Campus Initiative.

“Permaculture is all about working with nature and not against it,” said Annie Gray, Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning director. “On a practical level, it’s about harmonizing landscape design—urban or rural—with the daily lives of human beings who need secure access to food, shelter, energy, and income.”

“With climate and energy challenges in front of us, knowing how to provide basic human needs as close to home as possible is becoming increasingly important,” said Chad Hellwinckel, founder of Knoxville’s Permaculture Guild, which is sponsoring the Pellissippi State event. “Permaculture gives insight on how to let natural forces work for us instead of battling them.”

Gray, Hellwinckel and Bane say they hope the presentation will be beneficial to attendees, whether or not they’re interested in gardening, who want to learn more about the benefits of local, healthful food.

Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program integrates community service with traditional classroom learning. The Sustainable Campus Initiative pioneers sustainable projects on all five Pellissippi State campuses. Together, the groups plan to put permaculture design into practice at a garden on the Hardin Valley Campus.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

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