By Sophie Bishop
On January 23rd, YES! teams from New Prague and Springfield traveled to the Ney Nature Center to learn about local foods and greenhouses. Students heard from Josh Reinitz, a local organic farmer and CSA provider. Josh spoke about how to create an organic farm or garden and offered tips on how to sustain it for years to come. He also talked about how to build a greenhouse out of reusable materials, in order to cost less to make and produce less waste in the process. Next, Josh guided students in starting their own seeds with proper seeding techniques. Each student planted at least 6 seeds in one container, while some students did two or three containers. Students enjoyed planting tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, and lettuce and bringing those new plantings back to their school.
After lunch, students went down to the Minnesota New Country School (MNCS) in Henderson, MN to tour their school, greenhouse, and student’s sustainable projects. David Rice, a high school advisor, and some MNCS students gave the tours while YES! students and coaches asked questions about how the school works and how they determine what projects to do. David and the MNCS students shared some of their bigger local foods projects including the apple orchard, bee hives, aquaponics, greenhouses, and making honey and apple products to sell for fundraising. Students were shown how to take a clipping off of a succulent in their greenhouse and replant them at their own school.
It was inspiring to see a school’s accomplishments in local foods. Students not only got to bring back seed plantings and succulents, but they are bringing back suggestions of great projects they can do in their school and community too!