Greenhouse provides fresh food for cafeterias

ETHS students garden.

ETHS students garden.

You don’t have to be afraid of the cafeteria food anymore. This year, the greenhouse is providing fresh organic greens and herbs to the cafeterias.

“The greenhouse is producing salad greens including leaf lettuce, spinach, arugula, and a mixed micro green. The greens are new this year,” explained CTE and horticulture teacher Christopher Dammers.

Students are tasting the difference in their food.  “I have noticed some new greens and herbs in my meals. There are more vegetables and less unhealthy fried foods in the lunches,” commented Eric Greenfield, sophomore.

The new changes come after renovations to the greenhouse over the summer. “Over the summer we completely cleaned out the greenhouse. It was an overgrown, unutilized building,” stated Kimberly Minestra, director of Nutrition Food Services.

The greenhouse has already produced an unprecedented amount of food, supplemented by the Edible Acre, said Minestra.

The renovations were made possible with the help of the The Talking Farm, a local non-for profit gardening group, and the work of students hired by the city.

“Six students were hired by the city to assist in loading things, building beds and planting seedlings,” added Minestra.

Junior Rebecca Wood, a member of Community Service Club, has helped harvest food for the cafeterias. “When I see some of the salads that the school provides, I’m not sure if what they’re giving us is all natural. I just have my doubts,” she explained. “Since I’ve been involved with harvesting food it definitely makes me more confident to eat in the cafeterias.”

Greenfield is also confident in the new changes. “I love the addition of the greens, but I do think that the school should be marketing more to students,” stated Greenfield.

Minestra is working to expand the greenhouse’s capability. “We’re in the midst of figuring out a good marketing program. Right now in the greenhouse it’s only feasible to grow greens and herbs.”

Hopefully, that will change soon. Plans are in the works to implement adult gardening classes, and students can get involved with watering and harvesting.

“I’ve actually never been to the school’s greenhouse even though I do want to visit,”  said Greenfield. That’s why the school is now offering interested students and classes tours.

“I would love to have students come in and look at the greenhouse,” commented Minestra.

For students who want to learn more about how fresh food increases health and nutrition, it’s as easy as signing up for a class. Dammers commented, “Sign up for horticulture classes next year.”