School Recognized for Green Thumb, Green House
While most would agree that the true purpose of education is to grow a students mind, sometimes there’s actually a bit richer harvest than that!
Such is the case at Mountain Valley School in Saguache and thanks to the efforts of Megan Cleaver, local students are expected to have fresh, school-grown vegetables year-round! Her efforts were recently recognized by the Colorado Department of Education – well-done!
Cleaver is doing service work for the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, BRIDGE Network and VISTA AmeriCorps and is working at Mountain Valley School in Saguache, where she has been the greenhouse manager and coordinator. When she arrived in Saguache in August 2015, the school’s greenhouse structure had been built under the coordination efforts of the previous VISTA worker, Patrick Johnson. Megan was tasked with making it functional.
After a year of hard work, watermelon, squash, lettuce greens, tomatillos, tomatoes, herbs, flowers, and other produce are thriving in the Mountain Valley greenhouse.
The school has had a bountiful community garden on campus for seven years, and the produce has reduced cafeteria salad bar costs by 90 percent during the growing season. But the bounty has traditionally gone away when the growing season ends. Now, the school plans to stock the cafeteria salad bar with produce from the green house year-round. When school is not in session, school employees and community members are able to enjoy the harvest.
Megan’s tenure at Mountain Valley School is coming to a close and the district and school staff wants to wish her the best as she pursues a Master’s degree in ecology at Michigan Technology University in Houghton, Mich.