What is EAT?

What is an edible academic garden?

The word academic relates to a learning environment focused on education; edible garden implies an aesthetically appealing space where plants will be grown for food and much more.

Wageningen UR is all about food and the quality of life! We are a life sciences university, sometimes we get stuck in our academic bubble and we just need to go outside, get our hands dirty and see how all this ‘theory’ we are learning connects to our every day lives. We see our campus as the perfect place for a hands-on, natural learning environment.

Our mission is to cultivate an edible academic garden where the WUR community can learn about food production and sustainability in action; working collaboratively and putting ecological design into practice.

Is this the same as a school garden?

No, School gardens are typically found on or near primary school grounds; they are most often used to teach science in an outdoor setting. They are typically associated with experiential and environmental education.

Is this the same as a botanic garden?

No, botanical gardens are usually a ‘look – not touch’ kind of place. They serve a valuable function to demonstrate and display plant diversity and garden design.

Our vision is to be a world leader in innovative academic gardens.

So, how are we going to do this?

Layar in action

One way we plan on achieving this is by integrating the latest technological tools to enhance our user’s experience of the garden.

Smartphone technology can now be used to connect educational materials to physical space in a way that wasn’t previously possible. Layar is the technology that will allow us to view digital information, which has been superimposed onto the view of the physical real-world environment around us.

A smart phone will be able to access information about the garden via the Layar app. This could be as simple as plant identification or a complex as a guided tour complete with videos or with additional information to enhance the users experience of the garden.

And why do we need this??

First of all, it allows for more interaction with the garden. It invites people to connect with the space in a different way. It also creates a way for students to use their campus differently.

Here at WUR there is a continuous discussion about the relationship between technology and agriculture. This project connects technology and agriculture in a new an innovative way. It is our intention that Project EAT will be a forum for open discussion from all sides of agriculture; helping to facilitate common ground and foster valuable connections

Let’s connect this technology to Project EAT:

We will soon be presenting our proposal to the executive board. I would like to superimpose a video of the design group presenting the design framework onto the printed proposal.

Jeroen and I will present the project proposal and when it comes time to talk about the location and design I want to scan an image of the printed proposal with an ipad/iphone. This will bring up the video of the design group presenting their design.

Crazy, right?

Why???

Most importantly, because we want the Executive Board to support Project EAT. It is important that the board understands our vision. We want them to see that Project EAT is far more than just a garden; we are developing innovative ways to use the campus and further the mission of Wageningen UR. We have been inspired by our WUR education and we want to inspire them with our creativity and ability to connect theory and practice.

This post was written by Project EAT’s Education and Research Coordinator, Blair Van Pelt.

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