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PTK Opens Live & Learn Greenhouse

June, 2017
  • Man works on greenhouse
  • Pictured from left to right: Ethan O’Connell, Dathiel Blake, Kyle Mondino, and Kayla Paterson

PTK is excited to announce the Live & Learn Greenhouse will be up and running in July. The group has been working hard to get the project started and the finishing touches were recently made on the greenhouse.

Construction started in the spring on the four-season greenhouse on campus.

PTK Faculty Advisor Bonnie Coleman said students will grow vegetables and plants, to not only learn more about gardening, but also to ultimately to provide food.

The mission of the Live & Learn Greenhouse Project is to renew connections between people and the natural environment, create a resource of healthy, nutrient-rich food for the Quinsigamond Community College community, and provide an educational resource for students, faculty, staff, and children.

Different students and academic programs will be able to use the greenhouse and learn more about various growing methods, such as hydroponics, to raise awareness about the natural environment.

The idea came about because of food insecurity on campus, said Ms. Coleman. According to Higher Education Today, many college students struggle with food insecurity. This can be especially true at community colleges, where many students are non-traditional age. Feeding America, a national nonprofit network of food banks that provides food assistance to 46.5 million individuals and 15.5 million households, estimates that nearly half (49.3 percent) of its clients in college must choose between educational expenses (i.e., tuition, books and supplies, rent) and food annually, and that 21 percent did so for a full 12 months.

A $16,500 grant will partially fund the greenhouse, where students will grow vegetables and plants. Ms. Coleman said they plan to start with herbs, cucumbers and tomatoes and then add new items each season. There also will be a “Plant A Seed’ project with the Early Childhood Education program, where children can come in to plant a seed and watch it grow.

PTK is accepting donations of pots, potting soil, seeds, shelving, lighting or cash donations. The students will be working with a botanist, who is a part-time faculty member, to learn more about the process.

Former PTK President Kimberly May said earlier this spring they hope to also involve applied arts students and have them create a book about gardening and the project, which could then be donated to local schools and the city’s bookmobiles. The honor society also is involved in promoting children’s literacy through raising funds for one of the city’s bookmobile’s, Lilly.

Ms. Coleman said they hope to grow and sell poinsettias in the winter season to raise money for the greenhouse project.