WINNSBORO — Looking for fresh produce or for tomato plants or fresh flowers? Look no further than the Fairfield County Career Center’s greenhouse.
On April 8, students and their teacher Earnest Manning held an open house to showcase the plants they have nursed since January. The student-led entrepreneurial activity is part of the horticulture class.
This group of around six students began with seedlings they nurtured and helped grow into the plants currently being sold in the greenhouse on the career center campus.
The horticulture class meets daily from 1:30 p.m. until 3:10 p.m. Students pull weeds and handle the planting and transplanting. Students handle fertilizing, weeding, pruning and helping plants grow and their teacher, Earnest Manning, is just a manager of the operations.
This class teaches work ethic and connects these students to where food comes from. For several, this was their first time working in a garden and they said they plan to continue to garden once they finish high school.
Each student chose one variety of seed for the greenhouse. Squash, lettuce, broccoli and other items were chosen. Students learn to deal with the public because, although Manning is there as a resource, they handle customer relations.
“They come in and don’t think that people will come buy the produce but they learn there is a need for this,” Manning said, “but people wait all year to come up here.”
This is a regular school district class, a two-year program including Horticulture 1 and 2. The produce and flowers are all student grown.
“My favorite part is making money on sales,” said second year student Eden Matthews.” This is a fundraiser for the Career Center.”
Most recently, the horticulture class received a shipment of plugs for plants that they transplanted into flats, or the larger potted areas where the food can grow.
Katelyn Adams said she enjoys watching the plants grow. “We all help pot and plant,” she said. “Usually Eden handles the watering.”
This is Adams’ first year in the course. She said she probably will continue to garden after high school.
Senior John Thompson appreciates how much better home raised produce can be for people.
“Stuff you grow is healthier for you,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about the stuff people put in it. These plants are totally new. It makes good money and is very fun. it is neat to see them grow and see what the seed becomes.”
Squash plants sold quickly the first day but there were many varieties of lettuce and lots of tomato plants for folks to buy in the weeks to come.
Proceeds from plant sales are used to buy seeds, soil and fertilizer for the next school year.
“We are thankful to provide the community with this service,” Manning said.
Contact Kevin Boozer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 635-4016 ext. 14 or follow him on Twitter at @kevinboozer.