Skip To Main Content

Mt. Vernon High School is growing stronger by supporting the community with their student-based projects. Last school year, students began a project to build a raised bed garden that would serve the community by supplying fresh produce. This initiative was started by Mt. Vernon High School’s JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) program and the Community Service Club. These groups led a project that grew approximately 150 pounds of produce, including bell peppers, zucchini, squash, cucumbers and a variety of tomatoes that supported the local Fortville Christian Church’s food pantry. This garden is still under development with future plans to improve and expand the types of produce.

JAG Garden

 

Mt. Vernon High School is growing stronger by supporting the community with their student-based projects. Last school year, students began a project to build a raised bed garden that would serve the community by supplying fresh produce. This initiative was started by Mt. Vernon High School’s JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) program and the Community Service Club. These groups led a project that grew approximately 245 pounds of produce so far, including bell peppers, zucchini, squash, cucumbers and a variety of tomatoes that supported the local Fortville Christian Church’s food pantry. This garden is still under development at the high school with future plans to improve and expand the types of produce. 

This project started when the JAG program, led by Mr. James Cochran, began brainstorming ideas for their project-based service learning project (PBSL). This began a hands-on project where students work together and see the fruit of their labors, literally and figuratively. Cochran shared how the students first began brainstorming what they wanted to do for this project, why they wanted to do it, and how they wanted to execute it. Since the JAG program only consists of juniors and seniors, Cochran involved the Community Service Club as a way to open up this project to anyone in the high school who wanted to be a part of making a difference in their community. 

This garden was started during the school year and maintained over the summer. As the students brainstormed ideas to support the garden, they realized that not many people would be around to take care of it during the summer. This led to the decision to develop the garden with a self-sustaining system. To achieve this, they used weed barrier around the plants so that weeding was not necessary, and included an automatic watering timer that would water the produce every morning through an irrigation system. 

 

Along with MVHS student groups, various outside organizations were also involved in this beneficial community project. Vernon Township received a grant to purchase gravel for the project, Tuttle’s Orchard donated plants, Metal Supermarkets donated metal, Backyard Blessings donated tomato cages, Schreiber Lumber donated wood, and the Hancock County Community Foundation provided a grant to support other necessary materials. The Mt. Vernon High School welding students provided metal "MV" stakes for the garden. In addition, various Mt. Vernon staff members and even board members supported the project’s development and maintenance.

Future plans for the garden are currently being discussed as classes resume for students. They are looking to expand the variety of produce being grown, beautify the landscape surrounding the garden, and possibly add benches and tables. Cochran shared that the goal is for the garden to become “more and more community-based each year.” This has been a rewarding experience for the students who developed the garden, community supporters, as well those who receive the fresh fruits and vegetables. 


 

Garden
Students building garden
tomato cages