UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Vancie Peacock grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, but always dreamed of being on a farm. When she was 4 years old, she said, she became a vegetarian because she didn’t want to eat animals.
The Schreyer Scholar and biological engineering major has further embraced agriculture since becoming a Penn State student. She was instrumental in the creation of the Schreyer Pocket Garden, a new two-year pilot program in partnership with the Student Farm Club, the Lion’s Pantry and the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) that will allow Peacock and other students to gain hands-on experience with growing vegetables that will support food security at Penn State.
“I’ve always just been drawn to nature and passionate about the environment and animals,” Peacock said. “To me, agriculture was this cool way that humans in the natural world could benefit from one another and interact and have this special relationship. We can use it as a way to appreciate what nature gives us — food that will provide nutrition for us.”
Peacock participated in the Pennsylvania School for Excellence in Agricultural Sciences program as a high school student, then became the director of food justice for UPUA during her first year at Penn State. She was interviewed for that position by another Schreyer Scholar, Nora Van Horn, who had previously discussed the potential of community gardens on campus with then-Schreyer Honors College Dean Peggy A. Johnson as a sustainability initiative.