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Central High opens first educational greenhouse

Central High opens first educational greenhouse

Central High School in Phenix City has opened its first educational greenhouse, offering students farm-to-table experience.
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Central High School in Phenix City has opened its first educational greenhouse, offering students farm-to-table experience.

Central High School in Phenix City has opened its first educational greenhouse on campus.

The greenhouse is a part of the culinary program at the school. Students can participate in growing a variety of vegetables, from herbs to lettuces. Students will later use the produce to cook for the in-school restaurant that’s open to the public. The combined programs aim to provide students a farm-to-table experience.

Victor Khan, a plant breeder and plasticulturist at Tuskegee University, founded the program at Central High and helped build the hoop houses with a grant from the Alabama Association of Resource Conservation and Development and Councils. He volunteers and teaches about planting at different school greenhouses and farms in Alabama.

On Tuesday afternoon, Khan showed students how to identify different plants, place transplants in the soil, and spread seeds. Then students picked up shovels, dug holes and put soil on top of plants.

Tyanna Miller, a 10th grader, experienced farming for the first time. She learned about how long it would take for plants to grow, and the importance of sunshine and farming to the growth of plants. “I don’t like it, I love it,” she said of the class.

Preston Boggs, echoed Miller’s sentiments, and said he looks forward to later cooking with the plants and having something good to eat.

Samiah Love enjoyed the hands-on experience. “I love these two programs combined,” she said, referring to the hoop greenhouse and the culinary classes. “I was able to see where (the vegetables) come from and how they grow, but also getting to go into the kitchen and use them in actual cooking.”

Khan hopes to improve students’ knowledge of plants step by step with his lectures. “For those that were in the (greenhouse), I think they got the concept,” he said, “For beginners, I would give them a B+.”

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