Sierra Grande School constructs greenhouse

BLANCA — The Valley Educational Gardens Initiative (VEGI), a program of La Puente, and Sierra Grande School are partnering to construct an 18’x36’ Greenhouse Classroom for the K-12 school and the surrounding Blanca-Fort Garland community. More than 30 volunteers participated in the beginning of the construction process on Saturday, August 26th, completing the foundation and the framework of the greenhouse.

Sierra Grande students, administrators, community members, local general contractors, AmeriCorps members and staff of La Puente Home, Inc. alongside members of the volunteer organization JustServe came together to make the effort possible.

“We have had an amazing response to this greenhouse project, with great support from the community and Sierra Grande School and are looking forward to the services this effort will provide for K-12 students and families in the Blanca-Fort Garland area”, says Claudia Ebel, director of the VEGI program through La Puente.

The greenhouse was born out of a vision from Sierra Grande’s Superintendent Darren Edgar, who started a garden at the school several years ago and values agricultural education for area students.VEGI partnered with Sierra Grande to write the grant that eventually materialized into the purchase of the Junior Teaching Package (greenhouse), thanks to a tremendous award from the Colorado Garden Foundation.

Megan Slifer of La Puente said “I was so impressed with the amount of volunteers who came out to help this weekend. It proved to be a fun day of community service!” 

The purpose of the greenhouse, on site at the school, will be to supplement the kids’ learning with hands-on plant, soil, and water science activities, and to grow fresh food for the school. Students and community members also worked on staining the garden fence while others worked on weeding and harvesting the school garden as the season approaches peak harvest. Sierra Grande provided a barbeque lunch for all participants, featuring grilled peppers from the school garden as a choice on the burger buffet line.

Caption: La Puente AmeriCorps members and volunteers from JustServe are shown on the greenhouse foundation before construction. Courtesy photos

Volunteers construct the beginning of the frame.

Sierra Grande Superintendent Darren Edgar poses outside of the completed frame.