Ivy Tech Westminster Village Event Celebrates Partnership and First Harvest

Ivy Tech Community College Wabash Valley held a special First Harvest celebration event at Westminster Villageon Thursday, October 23, at 1:30 p.m. The event celebrated the partnership between Ivy Tech Community College and Westminster Village, as well as the first crop harvest.

The partnership between Ivy Tech and Westminster began in 2013, and allows Ivy Tech to utilize approximately 8 acres of land on the Westminster Village property. The historic grounds of what was once one of the world’s largest greenhouses, Davis Gardens, is now used as a teaching field lab for Ivy Tech Agriculture students. "As a longstanding part of the fabric of the Wabash Valley, Westminster Village is pleased to partner with Ivy Tech in bringing agricultural research to what was the former site of the famed Davis Gardens greenhouse, which was located on the campus of what is now Westminster Village," said PJ Whitney, director of marketing at Westminster Village.

The farming is done by Ivy Tech agricultural students, who this year planted corn and soybeans on the field.

"The Westminster field lab gives us an opportunity to show students some of the practices that are used in modern agriculture," said Ivy Tech Agriculture Program Chair, John Rosene. "More importantly, it gives students the opportunity to actually participate in the farming. They do everything from driving the tractor and planting the crops to driving the combine and identifying the best fertilizer to use."

Once the crops are harvested, the proceeds will be used to fund collegiate FFA trips for Ivy Tech Agricultural students, such as soil and livestock judging. This semester, students have already harvested and sold approximately 350 bushels of corn.

"Our partnership with Westminster Village allows us to offer a unique learning opportunity to local students," said Ivy Tech Chancellor, Jonathan Weinzapfel. "Hands-on learning is an invaluable tool for our students and our faculty. Thanks to the generosity of Westminster Village, Ivy Tech Agriculture students now have the opportunity to experience farming first-hand."