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Build it and they will eat

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Students at Marion Harding High School in Marion, OH, are building a greenhouse that will be used to grow vegetables for the school’s cafeteria.

| December 3, 2013

The headline reflects the hope of Marion Harding High School students who are helping to build a greenhouse. Once completed, the greenhouse will be used to grow vegetables that will be fed to students in the cafeteria.
It’s a plan that Marion City Schools food service director Winnie Brewer hopes will spread to other buildings in the district.
Adam Schmidt, who teaches environmental science at Harding, pitched the idea of building a greenhouse when principals sought ideas for Harding’s Hub 21 after-school program. Brewer supported it and added the part about using what’s grown in the cafeteria.
“That will be a launchpad for us to secure some more funding,” Brewer said. “The hope is to expand that to more than Harding.”
The school bought a greenhouse kit that students and Schmidt are building in the courtyard. Students worked before Thanksgiving to finish up building the greenhouse and start moving some buckets and shelves in that will be used in the greenhouse.
“Most students had never built anything,” Schmidt said as he discussed what skills students are learning.
“It’s been nice to see the students get out of the classroom, get moving and apply things they learned,” he said. Depending on how much they participate, some students may be able to earn science credit by participating. It also will count toward their community service hours required to graduate.
Junior Joshua Lundquest said he’s enjoying it despite the building part taking longer than they expected. Schmidt said students were working on it during some of the light snowfalls that the area’s had.
“I didn’t feel like I was doing enough with my life,” Lundquest said about why he wanted to help. He said he decided to get more involved in the after-school program.
Schmidt said the greenhouse will start with dark green, leafy vegetables that grow well in cold weather conditions. Spinach and fresh herbs such as basil are among types of food that may be grown.
He suggested the greenhouse also could grow and sell flowers and work with the art department to make corsages that students could buy for the prom.
“We are kind of experimenting, see where it takes us,” he said.
Brewer said the food service department had funding that could be spent on fresh fruits and vegetables. She plans to take the training necessary to become a certified trainer in produce.
“There’s a grassroots movement to use products locally grown,” she said. She hopes to teach students how to raise their own produce and seek funding so that produce may be grown at other schools within the district. She also may look for ways to buy more produce locally.
“It’s a better way,” she said. “It helps the community and it helps our kids understand how everything is full-circle.”
There’s a lot of work to be done in the meantime, but Lundquest said he believes everything will pay off with time.
Meanwhile junior Alena Shamel, who also is helping, said she knows what she’s looking forward to the most.
“When we start sending food to the cafeteria and we go, ‘Hey, I helped grow that,’” she said.
Source: Marion Star

 

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