A greenhouse construction project at Freshwater-Wadena Area Learning Center is growing to its full potential thanks to recent donations from the community.

This three-year project, built by students and guided by staff, is teaching students about business, construction, horticulture, health and well-being, career exploration, and interpersonal skills with the surrounding community businesses and general public, according to Freshwater lead teacher Heidi Heino. These skills taught, are aimed to achieve transitional skills to becoming productive and positive community members and employees.

So far students have built the greenhouse, tended to beehives and harvested honey, planted fruit trees, and have grown vegetables and various plants. Students work on the marketing side as well, by advertising these and other products they have produced using a student built website for community awareness. They have also recently displayed and sold one of their products at local businesses. Revenue created from the small business is returned to the students and used to develop and support current and new business ideas led by the students.

Presently, the group is developing a solar energy system for the greenhouse. This energy system will provide current to run lighting for an extended growing season and fans to maintain proper temperatures for the growing process. Students will learn how a solar system works through classroom instruction, installation of this system, and continued maintenance. The new system is large enough to add more lighting and an irrigation pump system for rain water collection tanks in the future. Irrigation and heating are the final phase of this three-year project.

Freshwater-Wadena Area Learning Center would like to thank and recognize Wadena State Bank, Ameriprise Financial Services, Todd-Wadena Electric Co-Op, Sourcewell, Freshwater Foundation, and anonymous donations for contributing to this project.

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"With their support, we have had the opportunity to continue to work on our greenhouse project," Heino said.