School Greenhouses Poised to Deliver Tasty and Lasting Changes

Planning is underway for two schools chosen to participate in our Greenhouse-Grown Organic Entrepreneurs program. Congratulations to East Butler Public Schools and York Public Schools!

East Butler and York will bring the farm to school during the 2015-2016 year. Growing edible and organic produce for school meals in the cafeteria, educating students about the sources of their food, and teaching entrepreneurial skills; it’s a triple win!

East Butler Public Schools Superintendent Sam Stecher sees the value in this project. “It’s an amazing opportunity relevant to the quality of our students’ experience on a daily basis. It will influence the quality of life in our agricultural community long term as well.”

Leaders at each school are building their farm to school teams. Members range from administrators, FFA instructors, students, food service staff, community members, teachers, and school staff.

Cal Williams, Ag Science Instructor at York High School and FFA Advisor, will introduce innovative growing techniques like hydroponics into the school’s production practices. Cal says, “Not only will students have the opportunity to plant and learn how food grows with these techniques; they will then harvest, process, and taste the food in their hot lunch program and on their salad bar.

“This hands-on experience is going to be amazing,” continues Cal. “Working with organic growing practices, the students will learn how they can translate practical experience into growing at home, potentially impacting their lives into the future.”

We are working one-on-one with both schools, providing the expertise and resources to build sustainable and tailored programs. I’m excited to see how each school develops their farm to school program.

A year from now, students and staff will have grown and developed the skills, knowledge, and tastes to enjoy what the greenhouse and cafeteria serve up. This kind of change is healthy and inspiring.

The Greenhouse-Grown Organic Entrepreneurs program is funded by a grant from the Blooming Prairie Foundation. We look forward to sharing project progress and impact throughout the year. Stay tuned!

Feature image: Cal Williams, Ag Science Instructor and FFA Advisor at York Public Schools, tends to plants in the school garden's raised beds. Photo by Sarah Smith