WVWC receives grant to construct greenhouse on campus
West Virginia Wesleyan College was the recipient of a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant totaling $25,000. Wesleyan was one of 10 schools in West Virginia to be awarded funding. The Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development (CCE) will be using these funds, in combination with a $2,000 Try This! West Virginia mini grant, to construct a greenhouse behind the Dunn Hall parking lot.
“The goal of this project is to provide nutritious food products in a farm-to-school sourcing,” stated LeeAnn Brown, director of the CCE. “We want to create in-house local food crop production and give our students an awareness of food-to-table cooking.”
The 26’ x 48’ high tunnel greenhouse will contain raised beds that Wesleyan students will use to grow food that will be given in part of Aladdin Food Services, Inc. at Wesleyan and in part to the Upshur Parish House for the food pantry. Another partner, the Child Development Center (CDC), will have their own raised bed to grow something of their choosing in order to teach the children enrolled there about sustainability. Aladdin will be the first food service that will have access to a greenhouse that helps serve their community.
Another program that will benefit from the greenhouse is a twice-monthly cooking class that is hosted by Patrick O’Brien, food services assistant director and executive chef at Wesleyan, at the Parish House. The classes, which began in October, will teach how to boost nutrition in your cooking with a hands-on demonstration.
This greenhouse will provide the model for other campuses to further the sustainability effort.
“We hope to start out by growing four different crops,” stated Brown. “We want students to be able to be involved with a project that exhibits collaborative partnerships, which we see in the Parish House and the CDC, support goals of local community agencies, and for students to understand that food can be produced local as part of a sustainable effort.”
This semester, the CCE’s goal is to construct the green house and plan for a spring crop of kale, lettuce, or herbs. As the project progresses, the CCE is hoping to lean on highly-interested faculty, staff, students, and community partners to be involved.