Museum of Science and Industry: Smart Home Garden-the Fab Lab Kids

This marks our tenth year at the Museum of Science and Industry Smart Home Garden. From 2008-2012 the Smart Home and Garden exhibit provided a hands-on educational experience for 450,000 people. University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners provided tours of the sustainable, organic vegetable garden.

Master Gardeners helped to plan, plant and maintain the garden each year. Since 2013 the garden has been used as a hands-on educational training site for community gardeners, school gardeners and public school teachers in Chicago. Master Gardeners continue to maintain the garden. All the vegetables grown in the garden are donated to the "Share the Harvest" program started by Chicago Master Gardener Linda Wygant.

One of the things I love about the garden is how it changes from year to year. This summer we had the opportunity to partner with the Museum's Wagner Family Fab Lab Summer Camp. Campers were introduced to new fabrication techniques in 3D printing, laser cutting, vinyl cutting, computer-controlled milling, digital embroidery and more. Each afternoon, campers applied what they learned to make their ideas real.

I gave the camp director a list of all the fruits and vegetables grown in the garden. The youth made signs for some of the vegetables and fruits. Every Tuesday the campers spent 45 minutes in the garden getting hands-on gardening experiences. Some of the youth had never gardened before. This proved to be a good experience for the Fab Lab kids and our Master Gardeners.