The Eco Plot is an acre of land that lies on the northeastern corner of the Lamoni Graceland University campus at the junction of Smith and Ackerly streets. It is made up of the Persall Orchard and Gazebo, fruit and nut tree plantings, a 20' x 80' hoop house/high tunnel with raised beds and an outdoor garden with raised beds. Produce grown on the Eco Plot is sold to three main customers: farmer's market patrons, Sodexo food service at Graceland, and the Lamoni Hy-Vee grocery store. There are plans to continue to develop the Eco Plot.
In the campus vegetable gardens, students are learning to grow their own food — flora and fauna. (The 2015-16 Environmental Psychology class helped raise chickens (jumbo cornish x rock, barred rock and rhode island reds) this spring in the hoop house. They are also learning what it means to actively engage with more sustainable production and consumption habits. Students see the produce they grow as it is used to feed their local community.
By taking students out of the traditional, indoor classroom space, they can realize the therapeutic benefits of being outdoors and gauge their personal tolerance for outdoor spaces. Students interact with one of the many ecosystems upon which they, and the rest of the Graceland University community, depend.
A photo of a rainbow over the Eco Plot (hoop house with shade cloth, bottom left).
Erin and Jade selling radishes at the Lamoni Farmer's market.
The vision for the Eco Plot includes multiple hoop houses, expansion of the orchard, a beehive and a chicken coop.
Graceland grown peppers for sale at the local Hy-Vee. The Eco Plot is located along the Lamoni Bike Trail.