Pinedale 4-H Afterschool Program Open House Sept. 30
For Farm to Plate Project
by Pinedale Afterschool
September 21, 2010
The Pinedale 4-H Afterschool program will be hosting an open house for the public to tour their "farm to plate" project high tunnel greenhouses on Thursday September 30th from 4:00-6:00pm. The high tunnels are located just east of the new Pinedale Elementary School in the Bloomfield neighborhood just off Bloomfield Avenue.
The structures were built this spring during a workshop conducted by UW CES educator Jeff Edwards. Throughout the summer, various volunteers and community members, including the Boy Scouts Troop 18, have contributed to completion of the project so that the high tunnels were ready for planting by the afterschool program. The project was funded by a Learn and Serve Grant through Serve Wyoming last winter. The overarching goal of the service learning project was to build the high tunnel houses that could be used by the afterschool program to grow fresh produce to donate to the local food basket, market and sell at the local farmers market and even donate to the school for the fresh fruit and vegetable snacks. Through this program, called "farm to plate", youth would participate in civic engagement and community service by making donations to those in need as well as sharing their produce with their school mates. In addition, the youth in the program will learn entrepreneurial skills and workforce development by creation of business and marketing plans and participating in the local farmers market. Finally, the farm to plate project hopes to promote intergenerational learning opportunities for the youth as they will work alongside volunteers in the community to plant, harvest and maintain the gardens. In addition, they will learn food preservation skills and techniques through a program offered by UW CES Food Safety and Nutrition Educator Jennifer Jacobsen.
Future plans for the high tunnel project include the addition of solar and wind power components and the opportunity for the community to "rent" plots in the tunnels during the summer months when the afterschool program is on summer break. The local 4-H garden clubs as well as the sage and snow garden club, will also be encouraged to utilize the structures during the summer months. During the school year, the afterschool program will maintain the gardens and continue growing produce, but has also set aside areas for the school to use if they wish for science fair experiments of science class projects. Originally, the plan was for the greenhouses to be located on school property so students could use the greenhouses for educational purposes. When this collaboration didnít materialize, Matt Harber of Haymaker Inc., graciously agreed to house them on Bloomfield land still adjacent to the school. This excellent location has enabled the project to utilize water from Barber Creek for a true "green" watering system, rather than using treated city water. In addition, the structures will be much easier for the community to access and utilize.