Club revives dormant greenhouse at Cascade High School
EVERETT - A small group of Cascade Bruins are digging in to grow food for their school and community.
The club, which meets Mondays after school, just donated 36 pounds of carrots to the Volunteers of America Food Bank last week.
Earlier this month, another 25 pounds of their carrots were served in Cascade High School’s cafeteria.
“It’s doesn’t get any more local than this,” said the club’s advisor Jack Mcleod, a Cascade science teacher.
The environmental arts club’s work started about a year ago when Audrey Taber, then 15, asked her teachers if they could refurbish one of Cascade’s long-unused greenhouses.
Last spring, the students thrashed thigh-high blackberry bushes to create greenhouse space.
The club also learned how to build irrigation systems and work with power tools to make the vegetable beds, Mcleod said.
Working with the Red Barn Community Farm, the club is growing leeks, lettuce and cilantro this winter. Earlier this year, the crops included tomatoes, squash, spinach and peppers.
Their carrot harvest is a mix of white, yellow and orange carrots grown in raised beds on campus.
A lot of their peers were leery of white carrots until they tried them.
“People didn’t even think they were edible,” Taber, the club’s president, said. “Then they tried them and said they’re the best they’ve ever had.”
Grocery stores have standardized their selections to orange carrots, Red Barn volunteer Doris Olivers said.
“It was really rewarding to have people say, ‘wow they are delicious’,” Megan Butler, 16, said.
Taber was able to secure a $2,000 grant from Whole Foods Market to build and irrigate the beds. She said donating the food “brings the project full circle.”
The club, which became a 4-H Club affiliate earlier this year, can’t stop growing.
“We’re hoping between (Mcleod) and the club to have fruit trees” in the greenhouse, junior Sabrina Borbe, 16, said with some excitement.
The club calls itself environmental arts because the group of eight students, mainly girls, goes on photography field trips as well.
The greenhouses at Cascade went unused for years. There hasn’t been any agriculture science classes at Cascade since at least 2007, district spokeswoman Mary Waggoner said.
The 10-acre Red Barn Community Farm, located off Lowell-Larimer Road, has produced more than 4,000 pounds of fresh vegetables for the food bank during this year’s growing season, Olivers said.
That’s about 200 pounds a week, marveled food bank director Bill Kraut last week. “That’s terrific.”
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