For the people living in the surrounding area of Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Terre Haute, it is very difficult to get quality fresh food.

Because of these conditions, Rose-Hulman has partnered with the elementary to start an after school gardening program.

“This area is technically a food desert. So we thought an easy thing to do would be to provide food right in the middle of it,” said Dr. Mark Minster, Rose-Hulman Professor.

Dr. Mark Minster started planting the garden in May, preparing plants that would be easy for kids ages kindergarten to 5th grade to care for.

“You know one of the things they are learning is hard work and responsibility and that those things are actually kind of fun. You can push a seed into the ground and watch it grow and it is fascinating and it is kind of miraculous and you have a sense of, I made that,” said Dr. Minster.

The after school program is two hours and students will work with the school staff and other volunteers to continue to grow and maintain the garden to provide produce to take home to their families.

Jane Sahabu is a senior at Rose-Hulman who’s interests in sustainability and the environment date far before the after school program.

“The kids have something fun to do after school and it is also educational. They get to learn about plants, and corn, and soy beans which is pretty important out here in Indiana. And also sustainability and things like that, which are getting more and more importantt,” said Sabahu.

Other than learning responsibility, Dr. Minster hopes the kids in the program will understand the value and gratification that comes from sharing something that takes time to create.

“That experience of sharing it is something that just can’t be replaced, you know? You can buy stuff at a grocery store that you can share with other people but when you have that sense of ownership and responsibility it makes a big difference,” said Dr. Minster.

The program is free and will begin on September 12th. It will be open to 20 Benjamin Franklin Elementary students.

If you would like to volunteer to help with the after school program you can contact Dr. Mark Minster at