The Willmar Community Greenhouse is attracting more attention: It’s featured on Minnesota Department of Education’s homepage, Minnesota School Nutrition Association’s homepage, and in a statewide presentation about new school nutrition regulations.
Meanwhile, rotating groups of 5th graders toured Willmar Community Greenhouse this week, learning about the fresh, local produce being grown for the high school cafeteria, along with the biomass burner and solar thermal panels that heat the greenhouse. The fennel, broccoli, and borage the elementary students tasted was all grown over the winter in the greenhouse, alongside diverse varieties of greens that have so far yielded nearly 200 pounds to the Willmar High School cafeteria. Meanwhile, other 5th graders were nearby testing their hands at designing miniature wind turbines, making s’mores in a solar oven, and generating electricity with a bicycle.
The education event was planned by Willmar’s YES! team, and taught by a combination of YES! team members and high school biology students. Willmar YES! coach is Rob Palmer. Aaron Larson manages the greenhouse, and Annette Derouin is Willmar’s Food Service Coordinator.
Oh, and what is borage, anyway? It’s an herb with a small, purple, edible flower. How do the petals taste? Sweet, like honey, says Aaron, who was leading the tour. The 5th graders, though, say borage “tastes like purple.”