By YES!/GreenCorps Member Sam Horner
On Friday, February 6th, the Northern Lights Community School attended its first annual Winter Workshop at the North Central Research and Outreach Center (NCROC) in Grand Rapids, MN. The workshop included three main presenters: Keith Mann from NCROC, a farmer’s market expert named Jesse Davis, and a couple of Master Gardeners. Each of these people had valuable information that they shared with the Northern Lights Community School’s YES! team.
Keith Mann gave an overview of what happens at NCROC–his job includes experimenting with different types of plants and vegetables in a several different greenhouses. The students took a tour of the facilities to see what was included in each of the different greenhouses. After that part of the tour concluded, Keith showed the students how to set up an irrigation system in their greenhouse to help keep the greenhouse running smoothly. He then showed the YES! students and coaches effective ways to plant their vegetables. Learning about Community Supported Agriculture and farmer’s markets was next on the agenda.
This YES! team has a greenhouse already and they have been providing food for their school this past year. Now they are looking to see how they can help support their YES! team and school with profits from their greenhouse. Jesse Davis, the Program and Outreach Coordinator for the Minnesota Farmers Market Association, told the team about the successes and pitfalls of CSAs and farmer’s markets. With the information they gathered from Jesse, the team will move forward with their planning for their growing season. The Master Gardeners shared their thoughts on which plants and vegetables would be a good fit for this upcoming growing season. These gardeners were also able to share with the team how long each plant will take to grow. In this YES! Winter Workshop, new partnerships arose and there were many new ideas that were generated. The team was able to gain some valuable resources, and already have a plan for how they will put this new knowledge to use. It was a great first Winter Workshop in NE Minnesota.