Montana State University

MSU’s Towne’s Harvest Garden receives national recognition

May 28, 2014 -- Tanya Reinhardt, MSU News Service

MSU agriculture professor Bill Dyer leads students through a September harvest at Towne's Harvest Garden in Bozeman. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.   High-Res Available

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BOZEMAN—Montana State University’s Towne’s Harvest Garden has earned national recognition from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, APLU, as one of only ten exemplary outreach programs in the nation.

Students started Towne’s Harvest Garden in 2007 as a means of providing fresh produce to low-income families through the Gallatin Valley Food Bank. The garden is part of MSU’s campus farm and supports the Sustainable Food and Bioenergy System Degree Program.

“The interdisciplinary component of the garden has drawn students from horticulture, soils, nutrition, culinary marketing and even architecture and engineering,” said Alison Harmon, a faculty supervisor for Towne’s Harvest and associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Development.

According to William Dyer, a professor with the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology and one of the founders of the program, the garden has produced between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds of produce per year during the past seven seasons and now involves nearly 70 students in the planning, planting, harvesting and distribution.

Members of the MSU Outreach and Engagement Council submitted a proposal nominating Towne’s Harvest Garden for the APLU’s C. Peter Magrath University Engagement Award. 

With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the award identifies colleges and universities that have redesigned their learning, discovery and engagement functions to become more involved with their communities.

“Towne’s Harvest Garden is well-aligned with the land-grant mission and MSU’s mission: educating students, creating knowledge and art, as well as serving communities by integration, learning, discovery and engagement,” said Kim Obbink, chairwoman of the MSU Outreach and Engagement Council.

“The garden is truly a living laboratory for research, an outdoor classroom and an avenue for students to learn through service to others,” Obbink said.

Contact: Kimberly Obbink, (406) 994-6550,

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