It seems like a modern home-ec project with a service twist: University of Pittsburgh students head into the community, reclaim abandoned lots, and develop educational organic vegetable gardens. According to an article in the York Daily Record, the Plant to Plate project is an effort to put students' skills to the test and also teach Pittsburgh, Pa.'s Squirrel Hill residents about urban agriculture.
Gena Kovalcik, co-director of the University's Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, told the Daily Record the project (which won a $5,000 grant from the center) is a great example of students getting out of laboratories and into the community. The students were faced with lead-polluted soil and irrigation obstacles and used their scientific coursework to develop solutions and implement them in a real garden over the summer.
The university students plan to involve local public school students in the garden project as well. The Daily Record quotes Pitt junior Reva Gorelick, saying, "[the garden] is a great way for city kids to ... realize that food does not have to come from Argentina or Chile." Noting that gardening is not just a hobby, but also a scientific endeavor with societal significance, the students hope their small farm will become a model for others around the city.