Written by YES!/GreenCorps Member Sam Horner
The YES! team from Mountain Iron-Buhl had a Winter Workshop on February 13th that was packed full of greenhouse management and recycling resources. Each stop along the trip gave the students useful knowledge that will help them in accomplishing their YES! team projects.
The first stop of the day was at Fat Chicken Farm where Janna Goerdt, one of the experts at the NE YES! Fall Summit that took place this past November, showed the students how she runs her business. As she showed them her greenhouses, she explained several different ways that greenhouses can be built in northern Minnesota, and what precautions need to be made. She also explained where the students can gather all the supplies for a greenhouse at reasonable prices through her connections, insight into what types of produce to consider growing in northern Minnesota’s tough conditions, and how she raises chicken for her business. After the visit with Fat Chicken Farms concluded, this Winter Workshop took the students to see Allison Sawyer at the St. Louis County Recycling Center and Landfill.
At the St. Louis County Recycling Center, the students were able to see a room filled with all the plastic bottles and cardboard that is collected from around the county. Allison stated that the county currently recycles around 55% of all the plastics that are used in the county, and that there are always ways to improve this rate. The students saw that everything needs to be sorted by hand, and that it was a never-ending job. She then showed the team the landfills in St. Louis County. The landfill only has a lifespan of twenty years, which is one of the reasons that recycling is so important. The last stop of the tour was a visit to the Virginia Greenhouse in Olcott Park.
The greenhouse in Olcott Park gave the students a different feel from the one at Fat Chicken Farm-the feeling of walking into a jungle! The students were able to see many different plants from around the world, not only fruits and vegetables grown for consumption. Dawn Trexel-Kroll, a Friend of the Greenhouse, explained how a portion of the greenhouse is utilized for growing winter greens. This included information on where to buy seeds, and when to plant those seeds as well as the importance of grants (a lot of the greenhouse was set up using grant money). With 26 students attending this Winter Workshop, lots of great ideas and project plans were set in place. This team now has a great foundation for their projects in the future.