Classroom in Bloom, the organic community garden based on the Methow Valley School District campus, hosted an open house on Saturday (June 15) to mark the completion of its new greenhouse.
The 24-by-72-foot greenhouse includes an attached mudroom, and is adjacent to a newly planted one-eighth-acre field. About 35 community members joined in the celebration to honor those that made the project possible.
“The greenhouse will enable Classroom in Bloom to add another educational goal to its existing social and environmental mission: students learning the value of green energy for our local and global economies,” Executive Director Kim Romain-Bondi said in a press release.
“The students will literally have ‘hands-on’ education about year-round food production in the Methow Valley. This new goal ties in perfectly with our existing vision: to connect children to sustainably grown food and the natural world to support the health of our people, place and planet.”
Romain-Bondi thanked all the local community volunteers for the cash, in-kind and labor donations that went into erecting the new structure. A cover will be placed over the greenhouse frame, Romain-Bondi said, and power and water service will be extended to the building. The passive solar greenhouse and expansion are expected to increase production for the nonprofit’s Farm to Cafeteria program by more than 30%, she said.
Methow Valley students currently harvest over 3,000 pounds of produce annually for the schools’ cafeterias and student snacks. Because 50% of the school district’s students are in the free and reduced meal program, the expected increase in production will provide even more of the freshest organic ingredients to the children of greatest need, Romain-Bondi said.
Currently, kindergarten through sixth-grade students take part in Classroom in Bloom programs. A recent grant from the Icicle Fund will allow the organization to develop year-round opportunities for Liberty Bell High School students as well, Romain-Bondi said Saturday.
For more information, visit www.classroominbloom.org.