Leland Scales (MAFS, ’16)’s hometown of Swissvale, PA had fallen on hard times, and he wanted to give back to the community. Inspired when he began the Master of Arts in Food Studies at Chatham, Leland created the Swissvale Community Garden to both beautify a part of his community and to provide some much-needed healthy produce to those in the Swissvale area.
Funding his project through Indiegogo, Leland designed the Swissvale Community Garden as a community-based initiative that is managed and operated by volunteers of the community and overseen by Reach Up, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Swissvale. Gardeners grow various flowers, herbs, and vegetables with crops being donated to local food pantries, some given to volunteers, and the remaining items sold at a local farmers market.
Leland plans to grow the project each year, and to offer gardening workshops to teach children that with hard work and determination, even the smallest seed can grow into to something larger than life.
Located within Chatham’s Falk School of Sustainability & Environment, the Master of Arts in Food Studies emphasizes a holistic approach to food systems, from agriculture and food production to cuisines and consumption, providing intellectual and practical experience from field to table.