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Greenhouse project gets official start

Teri Vance
tvance@nevadaappeal.com

Karen Abowd, chairwoman of the Greenhouse Action Project, choked up as she thanked her supporters during the groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the community’s Greenhouse Project.

“It’s about coming together for the kids,” she told the crowd. “It’s about the sustainability for the community. It’s going to be a huge educational project for everyone involved.”

Abowd initially proposed the idea three years ago to the Carson City Cultural Commission. After several possible sites fell through, the greenhouse is now being built on school district property, just behind Carson High School.

It also has evolved into a partnership with the schools.

At least 200 students are expected to participate in The Greenhouse Project’s programs. The 2,160-square-foot greenhouse and outdoor gardens will serve as a hands-on training center where students will cultivate vegetables to be used in the school culinary classes and local food banks.

Flower baskets also will be produced for the downtown Carson City corridor.

“I originally envisioned a concept of producing hanging flower baskets for Carson City’s downtown business district,” she said. “The idea just exploded from there and grew to incorporate plans for a greenhouse that would grow healthy food for people in need and teach kids about growing their own food and eating healthy.”

The Greenhouse Project has the potential to grow and distribute 4,500 pounds of produce annually. About 90 percent of the produce is expected to go to low-income families.

Plans call for the remaining produce to be donated to the Carson High School culinary program to ensure the culinary students have a steady source of seasonal vegetables year round.

Mayor Bob Crowell congratulated everyone involved.

“What a wonderful day for Carson City,” he said. “This greenhouse is a symbol of what communities can be. This is tremendous.”

The project is funded through multiple sources including a $29,000 HUD grant and donations from Carson City community and youth programs for $11,000.

The remainder of the project will be funded through more than $80,000 in private funds and donations, along with a grant through the Recreational Trails Program, Nevada Division of State Parks for $200,000

“Nevada State Parks and the Recreational Trails Programs goal is to unplug children and families from the video games, television and computers and to reconnect them with nature through outdoor education and trails,” said Jenny Scanland, of the Nevada Division of State Parks. “This project is a perfect partnership. That is what we are here for today.”

Star Anderson also presented Abowd with the Community First Award through the Mae Adams Trust.