Do you know where the food in your canteen or cafeteria comes from? No? Well the students at Sopris Elementary School in Colorado do. Do you want to know how? They grow it themselves!
Some final year students, from the school, invited the local Mayor, Bruce Christensen, to lunch in a bid to make school lunches healthier. Christensen granted their request and joined the students in a passionate discussion, at their school cafeteria. “We talked about the importance of fresh food and that’s how it all got started,” he says.
Christensen, an Executive Director or Mountain Valley Developmental Services (MVDS) located next door to the school, invited the students to use part of their greenhouse for their own growth of vegetables and fruit.
The school’s final year Teacher, Mark Browning, helped create a plan for the use of the greenhouse (including cost!) spreading the word to local banks and businesses. The FDSD (Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development) provided the school with a loan and an additional $5,000 for the plan.
Present day, the school greenhouse project is booming. Solar-heating systems have been installed to keep the plant beds warm and toasty during the winter months. Over 400 students work in the greenhouse 2 to 3 times a week.
Not only is the greenhouse providing healthy food items for the cafeteria, it is also providing vital materials for students in the Science class. Vegetable scraps from the cafeteria are taken to the greenhouse for the worms to break down and create fresh soil for the vegetables and fruits.
Because of this project, the teachers and students feel inspired to plant their very own gardens at home. Niamone, a final year student says, “The project taught us that with a little hard work, you can make a healthier choice. You just have to take the first step!”
Has this inspired you?