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PTK’s Live & Learn Greenhouse Grows to New Heights

April, 2019
  • Live & Learn Greenhouse
    The Live & Learn Greenhouse is busting at the seams.
  • Blueprint for the PTK Greenhouse
    Blueprint for the PTK Greenhouse
  • PTK's Greenhouse team
    PTK's Greenhouse team

The approval has been given, the plans are in place, and all that’s left to finalize is the location before a new Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Live & Learn Greenhouse will be up and running later this year. The exciting news is the culmination of a lot of hard work by the Phi Theta Kappa Greenhouse team, led by current Greenhouse Manager Vanessa Hanger and PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman.

The current PTK Live & Learn Greenhouse was opened July 2017 with a mission 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. Located in a former bus shelter, the greenhouse has been busting at its seams with produce that has been donated to QCC’s Food Pantry & Resource Center. 

The new greenhouse will be three times the size of the current greenhouse, according to Ms. Coleman. It will have a sloped roof that has extra wide roof vents, allowing for proper ventilation. This will give the college the ability to grow a lot more produce for the food pantry.

“The current greenhouse has issues with humidity and temperature, since it was a repurposed bus stop. This is an actual greenhouse that will regulate humidity and temperature, which is vital to help things grow,” said Ms. Hanger. “We are thankful to President  Luis Pedraja and the college community for supporting this endeavor.”

Once a site is chosen for the new greenhouse, a foundation will be made and prep work will be done before the greenhouse can be installed. The plan is to also have a meditation garden in front of the new greenhouse that will hopefully be a new location for the mindful meditation sessions during the milder weather.

“We will still use our old greenhouse to start our seeds ideally; then the new greenhouse will accommodate our larger plants, as well as hopefully the meditation garden,” Ms. Hanger said.

PTK is running a greenhouse sale on Thursday, May 2, Friday, May 3, after 2:00 p.m. and Monday May 6 - Friday, May 10, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.outside the patio area between the Administration Building and the Quest Center. Annuals and hangers will be available for purchase. Prices range from $3.75 - $32 (hangers).

“We are working with Matt Olson (former PTK member from another chapter) of Olson’s Gardenhouses, who will be selling us plants at whole sale prices. Any money we raise will go toward the new greenhouse,” Ms. Coleman said. “These are great plants and we hope everyone will decide to buy their plantings from us.”

While Ms. Hanger has been working tirelessly with other PTK greenhouse team members on making the new greenhouse a reality, she will be handing over the reins as greenhouse manger to incoming PTK student Aglae “Aggie” Blanco.

“The new greenhouse is an exciting project for our QCC campus for many reasons. An adequately equipped, full-size greenhouse would shower our community with benefits. From strengthening the connection between inner-city culture with environmental awareness, giving a variety of people around campus an opportunity for community involvement, to sending our locally-grown produce to the food pantry, there is so much this greenhouse can offer,” Ms. Blanco said.

According to both Ms. Hanger and Ms. Blanco, volunteers are always needed and are the backbone of the making the greenhouse what it is today.

“Involvement in the greenhouse can be an inspiration to live a healthy and nutritious lifestyle, as well as a friendly environment for interacting with fellow students who we might not have had the chance to otherwise meet,” Ms. Blanco said. “Building connections through meaningful work can end up turning into the some of the strongest bonds we'll hold onto, which in turn encourages the retention of students and therefore the growth of our alumni community. I am very honored and pleased to be a part of such a purposeful project in which our students themselves can reap the benefits they worked hard for!”