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ODU Art Students Joining with Five Points Farm Market on 'Follow Your Food' Project

The road to healthy eating and art education is being paved more colorfully this summer as Old Dominion University art education students make a difference.

Students enrolled in the Art Education Studio Methods and Classroom Management course, under the direction of Patti Edwards, senior art lecturer, are designing a valuable unit of study as part of their arts education coursework.

The unit plan includes a special project of transforming a newly acquired, plain vegetable cart into a meaningful masterpiece ready to take on the road: "Follow Your Food."

"Follow Your Food" is the critical message advocated by Bev Sells, manager of Five Points Community Farm Market, located at 26th and Church streets in Norfolk. For several years, Sells has managed the market and personally delivered fresh local produce from farms to the ODU campus.

"This year she brought a new 'green' cart, which is perfect for transport but without visuals to communicate the powerful message. That's where ODU art education students stepped up to the 'healthy eating' plate," Edwards said.

"Follow Your Food" embraces healthy eating, nutrition and agriculture, and connects readily to science, technology, engineering, math and art concepts - all relevant content for today's learners, Edwards said.

"It is important that ODU art education students are fully prepared to teach with the relevant skills needed to reach and motivate learners today. This project fosters 21st-century skills and embraces STEM plus art, as well as the Virginia Standards of Learning," Edwards noted.

"ODU students gain valuable skills in unit lesson plan design and classroom management that fosters collaborative experiences, creativity and making direct connections to the community in a local, personal way."

Edwards believes that the Five Points Community Farm Market is a perfect partner for ODU "because it supports quality teacher preparation, collaboration and serves as a vehicle where art can be transformative for students, families, schools and the community. The learning is authentic, hands-on and relevant, which becomes enduring for students."

Edwards added: "STEM plus art is powerful."

This studio art project will take place through the end of June at the Studio Art Building in ODU's University Village.

Five Points Community Farm Market is an initiative of the Five Points Partnership and dedicated to contributing to the health and well-being of the community through good, locally produced food, fellowship and fairness. It is open all year.

For more information about Follow Your Food, contact Sells at http://www.5ptsfarmmarket.org.

Edwards teaches at ODU's Norfolk and Virginia Beach campuses. She plans to present the STEM + Art research project with Linda Pond, ODU lecturer of STEM education and professional studies, and her students at the Virginia Art Education Conference, scheduled for Nov. 1-3 at Waterside in Norfolk.

For more information contact Edwards at paedward@odu.edu.

This article was posted on: June 13, 2012

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