On a sunny day in November, a two and a half year endeavor was finally visualized by the Greenhouse Project group. It started with a simple idea – let’s build a greenhouse, a tool with which students could learn about plants, sustainable farming and creating a micro-business. Read more about the students’ hopes and dreams for the greenhouse and the journey to its completion on Amelia’s blog
Of course, as always with projects like this that are emergent and unbeholden to tight time schedules, much of the learning happens through taking a risk and then encountering and surmounting obstacles. This group of students and adults (Todd and Andrew) certainly encountered many obstacles. They wrote grants, fundraised and liaised with the school’s landlord and the city to acquire building permits. Many different organizations supported the groups efforts. Grants were secured from the Northfield Union of Youth in Partnership with the Healthy Community Initiative and from the Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams. A grassroots group of ARTech students and parents even organized a barn dance and concert to raise the final dollars needed to make the project happen.
One of the larger grants enabled the group to hire the expertise of our “Farmer in Residence” Andrew. Andrew has proved invaluable to the project. He was already well known to ARTech students for his volunteer work on the Boat Project. Andrew has extensive experience of working on CSA farms and a natural ability to guide a group of students on a building project. His enthusiasm is infectious.
The recent spell of fine weather has enabled the group to make excellent time in assembling the greenhouse. Plans are now being formulated for the creation of composting bins. The group is even dreaming up ideas of using a small windmill to power the electricity that will pump air into the space between the sheet of plastic covering the greenhouse.
Who knows how many projects this addition to our school will generate. A Greenhouse May Term project is already in the process of being designed. An ARTech CSA to generate the final funds needed for the completion of the project sold out in less than twelve hours!
Congratualations to the staff and students for their persistance in bringing a great idea to reality! Visit the ARTech Open House on Sunday, November 14 from 2-4pm to tour the greenhouse and learn about the project from students on the ARTech greenhouse team.