Students Create Summer Garden to Grow Donations to Food Bank

Rising juniors Josie Heppelmann, Erin Flynn, and Meghan McCarthy will try their hands at growing vegetables this summer with a garden on campus. The girls have planted green beans, cucumber, peppers, and tomatoes. All produce will be donated to the Chester County Food Bank.

Josie and Erin developed the idea while helping the Muddy Mac Club at Immaculata University with their food garden.

“We had been talking about planting a garden for a while, and we were really inspired by the garden at Immaculata University,” said Josie. “They have run a garden for the past few years, and we thought it would be a great idea to start a garden at Villa and get our classmates involved. The whole purpose of our garden is to provide fresh food to food banks in our community. Service to our community is important to us and the food garden on campus is one way we can help directly, and encourage our friends to do the same.”

The girls developed a plan, calculating how much dirt they would need and what the garden would cost, and presented it to principal Sr. Regina, who approved. The VMA Alumnae Association provided $250 in start-up funds for the girls, which they used to purchase soil and mesh fencing to keep out deer. Facilities Director Zeke Spillane and Declan Craig cleared space in the Italian Gardens. The garden framework was built using the cinder blocks used in the altar at Holy Week Mass.

The girls will water the garden over the summer and harvest the crops as they ripen, and will welcome additional volunteers. Anyone who would like to help should contact Mrs. Bielli at